Is your workplace ready for a complete review of your organization’s policies and practices in preventing harassment? Your road map was just released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
For the past 18 months, the EEOC has been studying harassment policies and practices. Many employers were not aware this was happening, but in early 2015 the EEOC convened the EEOC Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace. On June 20, 2016, the Co-Chairs of the Select Task Force, both EEOC commissioners, delivered their report of the study’s conclusion. It offers a critical look at employer prevention efforts, and offers massive recommendations for what employers should do in the future.
The report begins by recognizing that harassment prevention efforts are decades old, yet harassment still exists, and may in fact be increasing. The Select Task Force begins with the question: is there something we’ve been missing? The conclusion: “We want to reboot workplace harassment prevention efforts” (i.e., start anew).
EEOC harassment charges are based upon sex, but also many other types of harassment including race, disability, ethnicity, religion, etc. The Task Force report notes that only sexual harassment has been studied in any depth, and there are gaps in our knowledge and research on that subject as well. They noted that there is a lack of research or study of other types of harassment. In their study, the Select Task Force made the following general observations:
INSIGHTS FOR EMPLOYERS
Given the comprehensive scope of this study, and the many recommendations, we can expect to see a significant rise in EEOC efforts to help employers examine and implement many of the recommendations. The many recommendations will be explored in future blog posts, but here are a few:
The consequences of not taking these recommendations seriously could be significant as this signals the future of harassment prevention regulation.
Please contact a Gjording Fouser lawyer at 208.336.9777 if you would like any additional information about this topic or any other employment issues facing your company.