EEOC Recommendations for Preventing Harassment

New York City Lawyers Representing Employees

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) plays an integral part in making sure that strong workplace harassment prevention is implemented in workplaces. In 2016, it issued a report explaining that there should be a sense of urgency around stopping harassment. To that end, the report includes EEOC recommendations for preventing harassment. If you were harassed in your workplace, you should consult the seasoned New York City workplace harassment lawyers at Phillips & Associates. Our attorneys have experience representing victims of harassment in EEOC proceedings and in the courtroom.

EEOC Recommendations for Preventing Harassment

In the Select Task Force’s report, the EEOC set forth a number of recommendations to prevent harassment. The recommendations addressed how prevalent workplace harassment is, workplace accountability and leadership, harassment prevention policies and procedures, anti-harassment compliance training, bystander intervention training, and outreach.

The Prevalence of Workplace Harassment

The report recommended that the EEOC work with the Census Bureau or the Bureau of Labor Statistics to put together a poll to measure how common harassment is. It also recommended that researchers put together studies on how prevalent harassment is regarding the protected characteristics of race, ethnicity/national origin, color, religion, age, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, and gender identity. It offered further recommendations related to the harassment of federal employees.

Workplace Accountability and Leaders

The report placed a premium on developing a workplace culture that does not tolerate harassment and promotes civility and respect. It is critical for employers to model and talk about their dedication to this type of culture. They should conduct surveys and assess the workplace for risk factors. Factors that increase the risk of harassment include homogenous workforces, work environments in which some workers do not conform to workplace norms based on social stereotypes, work environments with high-value employees, cultural and linguistic differences in a workplace, isolated workspaces, coarse social discourse off the job, workforces with many young workers, workplaces with substantial power differences, workplaces with monotonous or low-intensity work, workplaces that depend on customer satisfaction, decentralized workplaces, and workplaces that encourage the consumption of alcohol.

Adequate resources need to be dedicated to harassment prevention. If there is a budget for diversity or strategy, harassment prevention should be part of it. Furthermore, if harassment occurs, discipline needs to be proportionate to what happened, and it must also be prompt. Supervisors and managers should be held accountable for their responses to harassment.

Harassment Prevention Policies and Procedures

Employers are supposed to keep up a comprehensive anti-harassment policy and put in place appropriate procedures in connection with the policy. Employees should be told what these policies and procedures are. Employers need to prepare for the possibility of retaliation. They should also test their reporting system. It was recommended that the EEOC and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) confer.

Anti-Harassment Compliance Training

The report recommended that employers provide anti-harassment compliance trainings to all employees. It also recommended committing resources to the training of supervisors and managers on proper responses to the harassment that they see or that is reported. It recommended that when the EEOC is putting together conciliation agreements, consent decrees, or settlement agreements, it seek to include provisions for compliance training, among other things.

Bystander Intervention Training

Sometimes workers do not know what to do in response to the harassment that they see on the job. The report suggested that employers include not only anti-harassment training but also training on bystander intervention and workplace civility. It recommended that the EEOC and the NLRB consult, confer, and clarify the way in which the National Labor Relations Act and federal Equal Employment Opportunity laws interact. It also suggested that experts be convened so that the EEOC can develop a bystander intervention training to reduce workplace harassment.

General Outreach

The report also recommended that the EEOC conduct both general and targeted outreach. It suggested that the EEOC create user-friendly guides for employers and employees and that nonprofits also get involved in creating guides for employers and employees. The report also recommended that the EEOC keep its Youth@Work initiative updated.

Consult a Harassment Attorney in New York City

Workplace harassment is insidious. The EEOC report confirms this, and it includes many EEOC recommendations for preventing harassment on the job. If you were harassed in your workplace, you should consult the seasoned employment lawyers at Phillips & Associates about the possibility of suing for damages. We represent employees who have faced harassment in New York City, as well as Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Call us at (866) 229-9441 or complete our online form.

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