Sexual Harassment Training Can Save Companies Millions

By Dr. Omar Johnson

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a grave issue with both ethical and financial implications. While the moral dimensions of such behavior should be clear to any conscientious individual or organization, the fiscal consequences are equally compelling. Instituting sexual harassment training can save a company vast sums, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars per individual involved in a harassment claim.

  1. Direct Costs of Lawsuits and Settlements

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employers paid out approximately $56.6 million in fiscal year 2018 to employees alleging sexual harassment violations through the Commission’s administrative enforcement pre-litigation process. This figure doesn’t even include amounts employers paid out as a result of litigation. Regular training can significantly reduce the likelihood of such payouts.

  1. Reputation Management and PR Clean-up

A company’s brand reputation is priceless. Once tarnished, it can cost exorbitant sums in PR campaigns, lost business, and plummeting stock values. Uber, for instance, faced serious repercussions following allegations of a toxic workplace culture in 2017. The costs of rehabilitating a tarnished brand can far outweigh the preventative costs of implementing comprehensive sexual harassment training.

  1. Decreased Productivity and Employee Turnover

Sexual harassment affects victims in myriad ways, from lowered self-esteem to anxiety, all of which can impair job performance. Furthermore, an environment that allows harassment will likely experience higher staff turnover rates. Replacing an employee can cost between 50% to 250% of the individual’s annual salary, not to mention the associated costs of training new staff.

  1. Increased Absenteeism and Medical Costs

Victims of workplace harassment often face mental health struggles and may require medical intervention or therapy. Not only does this increase the company’s health insurance claims, but it also results in increased absenteeism. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that workplace stress, including stress from workplace harassment, costs businesses an estimated $300 billion annually.

  1. Potential Loss of Business Contracts

Some clients and partners may refuse to engage with organizations with a history of harassment allegations. Governments and large corporations, for instance, may have strict policies about only partnering with businesses that uphold stringent anti-harassment practices.


The implementation of sexual harassment training should not only be viewed as an ethical imperative but also a financial one. The costs associated with addressing the fallout from harassment incidents can be substantial, both in direct expenses and long-term brand damage. Companies would be wise to consider the significant ROI that results from a proactive stance on this issue.

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