In our previous blog article, Why Do You Need an Employment Handbook?, workplace harassment was identified as a current issue that employers need to consider when updating their employment handbooks. For most employers, the importance of developing, implementing, and enforcing an anti-harassment policy and complaint procedure is common knowledge. In addition to the importance of an anti-harassment policy and complaint procedure, conducting regular anti-harassment training is another measure to prevent harassment. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has said that providing this training is essential for an employer to defend against claims of harassment. With the #MeToo Movement, and the harassment problem that continues in the workplace, the recommended best practices to prevent workplace harassment have evolved recently, including additional preventative measures that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is recommending and implementing.
The EEOC leads the way in preventing and providing guidance to employers on workplace harassment. For EEOC, workplace harassment is a top priority. Over the past several years, EEOC has taken the following action to combat workplace harassment and provide guidance to employers:
- In 2015, EEOC launched the Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace (the “Task Force”);
- In 2016, the Task Force issued a report on the study of harassment in the workplace, including checklists and a chart of risk factors for employers;
- In October 2017, the EEOC launched “Respectful Workplaces,” a new type of training that teaches skills that promote and contribute to respect in the workplace, but also another measure to prevent workplace harassment; and
- In the past year or so, the EEOC has also ramped up its role as enforcer, educator, and leader on the issue of workplace harassment.
Due to the evolution of workplace harassment, it is prudent for employers to re-evaluate their policies, procedures, practices, and training related to harassment in the workplace. The EEOC has identified and developed checklists on the following items as a means of improving an employer’s preventative measures in the workplace:
- Leadership and Accountability;
- An Anti-Harassment Policy;
- Harassment Reporting Systems and Investigations; and
- Compliance Training. See https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/task_force/harassment/checklists.cfm
Nardone HR & Management Consulting (“Nardone Consultants”) advises and represents employers in HR, management, and labor and employment law matters, including allegations of discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Tanya is passionate about these matters because she knows that they are critical to all businesses and she enjoys helping companies minimize disruptions and make sure that their business has a good team in place that is efficient, engaged, productive, and profitable. Nardone Consultants’ goal is to tailor its services to meet each client’s needs from representing clients against discrimination or harassment charges filed with EEOC or OCRC or developing a customized employment handbook to providing complete in-house HR support. If your company needs to evaluate and update its current policies, procedures, and practices on discrimination and harassment in the workplace or it needs to conduct workplace harassment training, contact Nardone Consultants.