The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission proposed a public guidance aimed at reducing what it perceives as the all-too-common incidence of sexual harassment in the workplace.
The commission said that in fiscal year 2015 – the most recent year with data available – it had received 27,893 private-sector charges alleging harassment, representing more than 31% of all charges filed with the agency.
In 2015 federal employees filed 6,741 complaints alleging harassment, about 44% of the total EEOC complaints filed by federal employees that year.
In January, Commissioner Victoria Lipnic (before she was named EEOC chair by President Trump) said harassment charges “remain a far too dominant part” of the agency’s workload.
“I am pleased the commission is offering an updated version of its positions on the important legal issues on this topic,” she added.
The guidance gathers together five previous EEOC enforcement documents. In addition to assisting commission employees, it is intended to help employers and employees better understand the extent of the problem and how to address it.
EEOC says the proposed guidance sets forth “five core principles that have generally proven effective in preventing and addressing harassment.”
These include: committed and engaged leadership; consistent and demonstrated accountability; strong and comprehensive harassment policies; trusted and accessible complaint procedures; and regular, interactive training.
The final guide will be issued after the EEOC reviews public comments on the proposal. See: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EEOC-2016-0009-0001 for more details.