EEOC Seeks Input on New Anti-Harassment Enforcement Guidance

January 13, 2017

This week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission published proposed enforcement guidance for employers on how to address harassment in the workplace and is likely to publish final guidance later this year despite the change in administrations.  The proposed guidance explains the legal standards applicable to harassment claims based on sex, race, national origin, disability and other protected characteristics, and if approved, would supersede five existing enforcement documents on the issue.  According to current EEOC chair Jenny Yang, "Harassment remains a serious workplace problem that is the concern of all Americans.  It is important for employers to understand the actions they can take today to prevent and address harassment in their workplaces."  The proposal builds on the work of a 16-member task force led by EEOC Commissioners Chai Feldblum (D) and Victoria Lipnic (R), who co-authored a report recommending employers "reboot" their harassment prevention efforts and identify some best practices for doing so.  Given its bipartisan nature, the guidance, or some variation of it, is likely to survive the change in administrations.