New York City Attorneys Pursuing Claims of Workplace Misconduct
Workplace harassment can feel like an insurmountable obstacle. However, harassment on the job is prohibited under local, state, and federal laws. The agency that enforces federal anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In its 2016 report by a Select Task Force, the EEOC outlined ways of preventing harassment. The EEOC report on ways of preventing harassment provides information relevant to many workplaces. If you are an employee who has been harassed on the job, you should consult the New York City workplace harassment lawyers at Phillips & Associates. Our attorneys are staunch advocates for workers who have been harassed.
The EEOC Report on Ways of Preventing Harassment
The EEOC report explained that workplace culture strongly affects whether harassment flourishes. The first step in preventing harassment is ensuring that top leadership is dedicated to a respectful, inclusive, and diverse work environment. The leadership should establish a sense of urgency about stopping harassment even before it starts. It should also evaluate and address any risk factors for harassment in the workplace. Employees should be surveyed to determine whether they think harassment is tolerated in the workplace.
Every level of an organization needs to have systems that hold accountable workers who harass others. The systems of accountability need to respond to harassment in proportionate, appropriate, and meaningful ways. Effective policies and procedures and effective trainings should be conducted to combat harassment.
Front-line supervisors and mid-level managers should be held accountable for monitoring and preventing harassment among people whom they manage. Anyone who is required to stop or address harassment should receive rewards for doing this well or be penalized for not stopping or addressing harassment. While all employees should be trained in anti-harassment policies, managers and supervisors should receive additional training; this allows employers to address behavior before it rises to the level of unlawful harassment. This also allows employers to make sure that there is compliance with employment non-discrimination laws.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, for instance, put in place an eight-hour mandatory training for all employees, led by an instructor, and its focus was on mutual respect. The training included a discussion about differences related to cultural characteristics and diversity that emphasized the resolution of interpersonal conflicts. After the general employee training, there was a mandatory training for supervisors, lead personnel, and executives that discussed the practical implications of laws enforced by the EEOC.
Bystander intervention training is also important in combatting harassment. One bystander intervention program, for instance, is Green Dot, which emphasizes techniques to identify situations leading to violent acts and how to safely and effectively intervene in them.
The report found that a holistic approach works best to develop an organizational culture that will stop harassment. Numerous issues need to be addressed to prevent harassment. Among other things, employers need to model their dedication to the goal of preventing harassment. The report found that employers should also take surveys to determine the extent to which harassment is a problem in their specific workplace. Based on these surveys, employers should dedicate adequate resources to harassment prevention.
If harassment does occur, discipline should be proportionate, prompt, and consistent. Managers and supervisors should be held accountable for their responses to harassment through performance reviews and metrics. Additionally, investigations, reporting procedures, and correctives should be used. Anti-harassment policies should be implemented, and reporting procedures should be multifaceted. An awareness that retaliation is possible should be retained by employers; they should implement measures to prevent retaliation against workers with harassment complaints.
Recommendations to the EEOC
The report also outlined the steps that the EEOC should take as best practices. The report advises the EEOC to make sure that any consent decrees, conciliation agreements, and settlement agreements with which it is involved address anti-harassment policies, a reporting system, investigative procedures, and corrective action. When resolving a case, the EEOC should also set up an agreement that specifies that researchers can work with the employer to determine how effective its policies, procedures, systems, and actions are.
Consult a Harassment Lawyer in New York City
The EEOC report on ways of preventing harassment provides useful guidance regarding systems of accountability, training, and other tools. Evidence about these aspects of company policies may be important to recovering damages in a harassment lawsuit. If you were harassed on the job, you should talk to Phillips & Associates about your situation. Our attorneys represent workers 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.