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EEOC Releases Final Guidance to Prevent Workplace Harassment

08 May

Update Applicable to:Effective date
All employersImmediately

What happened?

On April 29, 2024, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published final guidance on harassment in the workplace. While not governing law, the guidance serves as a useful tool for employers and will surely be referenced by the EEOC, attorneys, and courts.

What are the details?

The Enforcement Guidance on Harassment in the Workplace is a guide that serves as a resource on the legal standards and employer liability applicable to harassment claims.

Key Bites

  • The guide is enforced by the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) and aims to help people feel safe on the job and assist employers in creating respectful workplaces.
  • These laws protect covered employees from harassment based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; sexual orientation; and gender identity), national origin, disability, age (40 or older), or genetic information.
  • The new guidance updates, consolidates and replaces the agency’s five guidance documents issued between 1987 and 1999.
  • It serves as a single, unified agency resource on EEOC-enforced workplace harassment law.
  • The guidance reflects the Commission’s consideration of the robust public input that it received after the guidance was posted for public comment in fall 2023.
  • It addresses the growth of virtual work environments and the increasing impact of digital technology and social media on how harassment occurs in the work environment.
  • Along with the final guidance, the EEOC issued several educational resources, including: 
    • A Summary of Key Provisions document
    • A document for employees
    • A fact sheet for small businesses

Business Considerations

  • Employers should update their harassment-prevention policies, procedures, and training to comply with the updated standards provided in the guidance and avoid compliance penalties.  
  • Employers should plan communication and training for employees, especially managers, to avoid common mistakes and properly prevent and address harassment. Along with the final guidance, the EEOC issued several educational resources, including a “Summary of Key Provisions” document, document for employees, and a fact sheet for small businesses.
  • Employers should consider other state laws that require specific training, like California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, New York, and Washington.
  • Employers should ensure that all complaints are properly investigated and that appropriate corrective action is taken when improper conduct is found, per Fisher Phillips law firm recommendation.

Source References


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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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