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It has been 30 years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that workplace harassment was a form of discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In a series of court and agency decisions since that time, we have been provided some guidance on what the courts and the EEOC expect employers to do in order to protect their employees from unlawful harassment, but never has the guidance been more clear than in a report the EEOC released in June.
The report is the result of an EEOC task force charged with examining workplace harassment and methods for preventing and addressing it. The report is clear - it's time for a reboot of workplace harassment prevention and compliance initiatives. The report is rich with statistics and examples, and worth a read for the list of 12 harassment risk factors and recommendations. Pay particular attention to the section on training. The report unequivocally states: training should be conducted by qualified, live, and interactive trainers. In addition, the EEOC advises what we have long believed to be the case: in order to be effective, anti-harassment training should be delivered "live" with the top level of leadership present and participating.
So, we encourage you to take pause and inventory your anti-harassment initiatives. Is your current program effective and are your training dollars well-spent?
You can find a copy of the EEOC's report here.
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