Is Your Organization Taking the Correct Steps to Prevent and Defend Against Harassment Claims? Recent EEOC Guidance Suggests Best Practices

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, most employers have become more acutely aware of the risks involved in failing to effectively prevent and respond to claims of workplace harassment.  This renewed awareness should cause all employers, large and small, to evaluate their policies, processes and practices in place to prevent harassment and to respond to claims of unlawful harassment.  Recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued helpful guidelines outlining employer best practices to combat workplace harassment. In Promising Practices for Preventing Workplace Harassment, the EEOC provides a user-friendly summary of the EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace, Report of the Co-Chairs (Chai R. Feldblum & Victoria A. Lipnic, 2016).  In that report, the authors identified “core principles” that had proven effective for employer efforts to prevent and respond to workplace harassment.  These core principles suggest certain best practices to assist employers in developing and/or revising an anti-harassment strategies, and include the following: “Leadership and Accountability”: Simply stated, no effort to prevent and effectively address workplace harassment is likely to succeed without the commitment of the organization’s senior leadership team.  Human Resource professionals often are the appropriate individuals to lead anti-harassment efforts, but these efforts must not be regarded as “an HR issue.”  Senior leaders from across an organization must visibly support such efforts and allocate the resources necessary to maintain an effective prevention strategy....

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