BY STEVE GRAFF
Fran A. Sepler, a national expert and consultant on workplace misconduct, will be on Guam the first week of February to conduct trainings through the Society of Human Resource Management Guam chapter. Sepler will hold two trainings centered on workplace respect and civility for both employees and supervisors on Feb. 6 at the Westin Resort Guam.
The two trainings — “Leading for Respect” and “Respect in the Workplace” — are designed to go beyond traditional anti-harassment trainings that focus mainly on the law. Rather, these trainings emphasize the value of respect and fairness in the workplace and help employees and supervisors build skills to address any inappropriate behavior before it escalates.
“We need to teach people actually what positive behavior looks like, and how they can create better work experience for each other,” Sepler told the Journal. “…[The trainings] put very specific instructions on how we show up for each other in the workplace.”
Attendees will discuss behaviors and words that generate respect and how each person has the responsibility for contributing to respect in the workplace, according to SHRM. The training will also address behaviors that undermine respect, from rude and uncivil behavior to abusive behavior and unlawful harassment.
“What I tend to focus on is the importance of avoiding persistent rudeness,” Sepler said. For example, shunning can be a form of bullying or abusive behavior that can have massive corrosive effects, along with gossip that rises to the level where people are being treating poorly, she added.
The trainings, which are now offered nationwide, were developed by Sepler for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and launched in 2017. It’s the first time Sepler has conducted the trainings on Guam.
“We are very excited to have her here,” said Charlotte D. Huntsman, president of the SHRM Guam chapter. “It’s important to get the training from the person who created it.”
Sepler is best known for her pioneering work in harassment prevention and workplace investigations. Sepler has conducted more than 1,000 workplace investigations, served as an expert witness regarding employer response to employee complaints and provided anti-harassment, anti-bullying and implicit bias training for thousands of organizations, according to SHRM.
During her 30-year career as president of Sepler and Associates — which took off after the Anita Hill sexual harassment trial, she said — she has trained more than 15,000 people on workplace misconduct. She also wrote “Finding the Facts: What Every Workplace Investigator Needs to Know,” published in 2008.
“What I love about the work I do is that people get an ‘aha’ moment,” Sepler said. “That instead of focusing on the law and compliance and what’s illegal, we instead need to focus on the capacity we have to really create positive environment for each other and establish our own work climate.”
After Guam, she will travel to Saipan to conduct the trainings through SHRM. mbj