Addressing Workplace Harassment: Insights into EEOC’s Proposed Enforcement Guidance

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently introduced proposed enforcement guidance aimed at further clarifying and strengthening measures against harassment in the workplace. The 144-page guidance outlines strategies and policies the EEOC believes are necessary to prevent and address workplace harassment based on any protected status (i.e., race, gender, national origin, disability, religion, age, and genetic information).

Key Components of the Proposed Guidance

Below are a few noteworthy points in the guidance:

Key Takeaways for Employers

Considering the proposed enforcement guidance, employers should:

Although this proposed guidance is not legally binding, it provides insight as to how the EEOC will look at workplace harassment complaints. The EEOC has reported high numbers of harassment complaints in the last several years, and it clearly plans to strengthen measures against workplace harassment.

This guidance is proposed at this point but will likely be adopted. Employers should take this opportunity to look at the recommendations and consider incorporating these strategies into their policies and practices. Not only should employers be ready to defend themselves against an EEOC charge, they should also want to create environments where every employee feels valued, respected, and safe from harassment and believes their employer takes the guidance seriously.

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National Law Review, Volumess XIII, Number 320