Everything You Need To Know About Mandatory Employee Training Programs

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Rochelle van Rensburg

All employers should adequately train their employees to maintain a productive and safe workplace. Effective employee training can be developed by implementing  training required by law, as well as additional training that assists your employees to be productive and successful in the workplace. This article will look at mandatory employee training by the state and additional recommended training, ensuring that your company remains compliant when it comes to safety and staff training.

What employee training must employers provide?

Training can include general skills such as technical skills, literacy, orientation about the organization, and programs designed to prevent audits, fines, and lawsuits. Examples are sexual harassment, safety, and compliance and ethics training. Be sure to comply with all regulations that apply to your industry, workplace, and employees.

Federal training regulations do not necessarily apply to all employers, but certain rules and laws may apply to specific employers and industries. Some of the main categories of training required by federal law are:

  • Discrimination

Discrimination in the workforce can take many forms, all of which may be illegal and detrimental. Training in this area has become more critical than ever, as the consequences of not having a strong anti-harassment and discrimination program can be very damaging to your organization.

Under the laws enforced by The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), you may not hire, promote, or fire someone based on their age, race, religion, disability, color, or sex. Most employment agencies and labor unions are covered by EEOC laws, as well as employers with 15 or more employees. Regulations apply to work situations such as harassment, training, wages and benefits, and hiring and firing.

Employees are also protected from retaliation by these laws. Retaliation occurs when a manager takes hostile or adverse action against an employee who files a harassment complaint.

  • Sexual harassment

As this is the most common form of workplace harassment, which could lead to hefty fines and lawsuits, training on this subject is vital. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome requests for sexual favors, sexual advances, and other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature.

Because of its damaging effects on a company’s morale, productivity, and culture, employers must do their utmost to eliminate and prevent sexual harassment in their organization actively. This involves educating your entire workforce on acceptable behavior and sexual harassment. Managers and supervisors must be given specialized training on how to handle these cases correctly and professionally.

California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, and New York have their state laws specifically addressing sexual harassment. Make sure what your specific state law requirements are, for example, the frequency in which the training must be provided, who must be trained, the required content of the training program, and proper record keeping. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces laws regarding workplace harassment.

  • Safety

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requires that employers train their employees in their jobs’ safety and health aspects. Training helps and shows employees what they should and should not do when they perform their workplace duties. Effective training can reduce accidents and workplace incidents, ensure fewer lawsuits, lower costs, and promote a happier and safer workplace.

Here are some of OSHA’s safety training requirements:

  • Hazard communication.
  • First aid training.
  • Emergency action plan training.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE).

Many more OSHA regulations require training. For example, specific training requirements for occupations considered safety-sensitive or organizations involving the public’s safety like the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Be sure to comply with all regulations that apply to your industry, workplace, and employees.

effective training programs

  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

FLSA is a federal law that determines the minimum wage, recordkeeping, overtime pay eligibility, and child labor standards. The act affects full-and part-time workers in the private sector and federal, state, and local governments. This training should cover overtime requirements and ensuring that all hours of work are recorded and compensated.

  • Compliance and ethics

Ethics and compliance have different meanings but often go hand-in-hand. Compliance means following rules, laws, and policies to the letter of the law. Ethics means doing what is right, regardless of what the law says. It is a conscious, personal choice. Corporations have different ways of addressing compliance and ethics issues within their companies. Regardless of how it is internally handled, most corporate boards know ethics and compliance greatly influence their culture.

Adequate and effective training can help promote a culture of ethical business practices and compliance with the law. The training should cover the company’s policies and procedures, any rules that may apply to the company, and efforts to detect, prevent, and address wrongdoing.

  • Job or industry-specific training

Some state and federal laws require special training for employees with specific job functions. Examples are Hazardous Materials Regulations, which require that employers provide specialized safety training to employees who directly work with hazardous materials, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This act requires covered entities such as health care providers to train their staff on protected health information procedures.

  • State by state-required employee training list

As sexual harassment is such a significant problem in the workplace, some states have responded with sexual harassment training requirements. The laws vary in the type, amount, and training format, but they are fighting the same problem. States that have passed laws regarding harassment training are California, Connecticut, Delaware. Illinois, and Maine.

Conclusion

It is best practice to provide an effective employee training program for your company. These employee training should include mandatory state training, as well as additional training provided by employers. Informed and trained employees lead to a successful and productive organization with a healthy company culture.

Coggno has a wide range of mandatory as well as additional online corporate training courses.

You can have a look at our free courses here and our course catalog here.

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