Overview: Employee training and development can be an invaluable tool in providing supervisors opportunities for growth, leading to a long, successful tenure at the organization. Supervisor training should include additional subjects to those included in the training of a typical employee.
Although many employers may be tempted to invest in ready-made "off-the-shelf" programs, supervisor training should focus on internal policies and procedures, as well as a wide spectrum of employment laws and regulations. Therefore, a more customized approach should be taken in fashioning supervisor training, with a view toward minimizing overall liability concerns. However, nonharassment and nonretaliation training should continue to be a priority for supervisors across the industry spectrum.
Trends: Supervisors and managers have been targeted by regulatory enforcement agencies in the course of workplace investigations, resulting in potential personal liability for these individuals. In addition, certain federal and state laws permit employees to file claims against their supervisors or managers in certain circumstances. Therefore, supervisors should receive adequate training to respond to employee complaints and to avoid behaviors posing greater personal liability. Recurring training, such as providing a sexual harassment prevention refresher every two years (whether or not the training is mandated by a state, such as California), keeps these issues top-of-mind and allows for discussion on related management challenges and best practices.
Author: Marta Moakley, JD, Legal Editor
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HR guidance on the legal risks and benefits regarding supervisor training programs.