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Check out our weekly blog posts and see the latest news and discussions happening in the HR world of business.

EEOC Issues New Guidance To Prevent Workplace Harassment

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a third of the nearly 100,000 charges it receives annually now include a harassment allegation.

Recently, the commission issued a 95-page report assembled by a task force to find the best ways to prevent harassment in the workplace, and this has been boiled down to four handy checklists that employers should reference to make sure that they have covered all bases.

To be compliant, companies should provide:

1. Leadership & accountability

  • A prevention effort that is supported (with resources) at the highest levels of the organization
  • Time  allocated by leadership for harassment prevention efforts
  • A harassment prevention policy that’s easy to understand
  • Conduct surveys to assess whether your employees have felt harassed
  • Offer “bystander intervention” training that empowers co-workers to intervene when they witness harassment
  • Offer “civility” training to promote acceptable conduct

2. Anti-harassment policy

  • A clear description of prohibited conduct, with pertinent examples
  • A clear description of your reporting system and how to report harassment
  • Statements that individual names will be kept confidential to the extent possible
  • Assurances that those who report misconduct, or are otherwise witness to it, will be protected from retaliation

3. Reporting & investigations

  • Managers who take reports of harassment seriously
  • An environment in which people feel safe reporting harassing behavior
  • Well-trained investigators, who document all the steps they take during the investigation process
  • Procedures to determine if individuals who report harassment experience retaliation
  • Systems to ensure alleged harassers are not presumed guilty until an investigation proves harassment has occurred
  • Communication of the findings of the investigation to all parties and discipline where applicable

4. Compliance training

  • Regularly scheduled and repeated training opportunities
  • Training provided to all employees at every level of the company
  • Training provided by moderators with specific training
  • Examples of harassment tailored to your organization and employees
  • Clear explanations of the consequences of harassment
  • Instructions on how managers can report harassment to leadership

The full four checklists can be referenced here.

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