Just when many people thought the problems coming out of the Silicon Valley couldn’t get any worse, they did. Over the past week, two reports revealed just how deep the gender inequality problems are in California’s tech hub.  Fortunately, everyone can do something to accelerate the rate of change, and it starts with training.

Gender Inequality Persists Despite Tech Women Speaking Out

First, two former employees at the virtual reality start-up UpRoadVR went on record about the company’s track record, accusing it of being a boy’s club that actively promoted activities that were degrading to female employees. As TechCrunch reported earlier this week: “The lawsuit alleges that Upload VR’s co-founders would discuss “how many girls they were going to have sex with” at the company’s parties. A room in the office with a bed was allegedly designated as the “kink room,” where employees would have sex.” TechCrunch further reported that “Aside from the accusations that the co-founders were operating a “sexually-focused” work environment, the lawsuit also alleges that women were discriminated against in the office, given menial tasks and were not reimbursed for necessary business expenses. The suit also claims that the company paid male employees more despite sharing the same roles and responsibilities.”

Later in the week, news of a class action lawsuit at Google came to the surface. The Google case focuses on the company’s gender pay gap. The three former employees named in the suit claim that during the course of their time at Google, which spans, from 2005 through 2016, the company discriminated against them. The suit also claims that Google “continues to discriminate against its female employees by paying female employees less than male employees with similar skills, experience, and duties.”

On Sunday, after a week of allegations, an op-ed was published in the New York Times by Ellen Pao. Pao is an activist and entrepreneur who once sued KPCB, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist firm, over gender discrimination. Pao summed up the current state of women in the workplace this way:

We need C.E.O.s to hold themselves and their teams accountable for true diversity and inclusion. That means all people from all groups, not just women. That means understanding intersectionality — that employees can face multiple biases based on identity. That means all activities across the company, not just hiring…C.E.O.s lead the transformation from the top, and they need individual employees to focus efforts on change as well: Speak up, help others speak up, build bridges to those who are interested in changing and learning. I know that there is a real cost to speaking up. I have also seen that every voice can make a difference.

Pao’s advice is clear: Change needs to start at the top with CEO’s taking a stance and modeling change-focused behavior. However, training for people at all levels from the executive suite to the shop floor is also critical.

Change Starts with Training

To help organizations begin their training today, eLeap has compiled just a few recommendations of must-view training courses:

Sexual Harassment: Did you know as a manager you can be held accountable for sexual harassment between coworkers if you know or should have known about it and failed to take steps to stop it? This online video course, part of the “TAKEAWAY” for Managers™ series, teaches viewers about sexual harassment. Managers gain an understanding on what sexual harassment looks like and how dangerous it can be.

Harassment Hurts: Harassment is found in all different types of organizations and can occur between any employees. Treating others with tolerance and respect can prevent harassment, but first, it is critical to understand what defines harassment and how to stop it. This course features individual examples of harassment that can realistically occur at work. Through these examples, employees understand the definition of harassment, stereotyping, quid pro quo, the Reasonable Person Standard, and third-party harassment. Learners also see how to go about stopping the harassment, including reporting it to management if needed. This course stresses how making others uncomfortable at work should be recognized, prevented, and never tolerated. Use this course to help employees prevent harassment or stop any harassing behavior already occurring.

Harassment: Handling a Sexual Harassment Investigation: The video training course teaches managers, supervisors and appropriate personnel how to address sexual harassment allegations and conduct and conclude a sexual harassment investigation. The online video details the employers’ legal and ethical responsibilities when faced with allegations of sexual harassment. The course illustrates the necessity of immediately starting an investigation when allegations are made and stresses the importance of maintaining the privacy of both the victim and the alleged harasser. The video teaches investigators how to document the allegations including obtaining written statements and interviewing the parties involved and any potential witnesses. The online course trains employers investigating sexual harassment allegations on how to conduct investigations and resolve these situations in a fair, legal and ethical manner in order to reduce potential legal liabilities and create a positive more productive workplace.

Discover how to start your free trial and begin building a more equitable workplace now.

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