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Wellbeing: A Complete Reference Guide, Volume III, Work and Wellbeing by Peter Chen, Cary Cooper

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Chapter 15

Development of a Theoretically Grounded Model of Sexual Harassment Awareness Training Effectiveness

Lisa M. Kath

San Diego State University, U.S.A.

Vicki J. Magley

University of Connecticut, U.S.A.

Sexual harassment is a serious and costly problem for organizations, with documented mental health effects on victims (e.g., depression, anxiety; Willness, Steel, & Lee, 2007). Organizations and governments tend to view sexual harassment as a legal issue (McDonald, 2012), and they look to government bodies for guidance on how to comply with national and local laws concerning harassment. The United States, courts typically prescribe sexual harassment awareness (SHA) training as a method of preventing and remedying harassment, as well as a way to shield organizations from liability in harassment cases (Bisom-Rapp, 1999, 2001; Grossman, 2003). A case in point is the enactment of California's state law AB 1825, which mandates that supervisors receive 2 hours of SHA training every 2 years. The presumption is that training helps protect employees from sexual harassment.

Despite such emphasis, SHA training has been under-studied as an organizational intervention deterring occurrences of sexual harassment (Fitzgerald & Shullman, 1993; Grundmann, O'Donohue, & Peterson, 1997). The few studies that do evaluate SHA training have shown both positive and negative training effects (cf. Bingham & Scherer, 2001; Goldberg, 2007; Perry, Kulik, & Schmidtke, 1998; Robb & Doverspike, 2001; York, ...

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