Sexual Harassment Prevention In The American Workplace

In the wake of the many recent sexual harassment scandals, both the Wall Street Journal and New York Times ran major pieces on sexual harassment in the American workplace and its prevention.

It’s a particularly difficult challenge in light of the EEOC’s recent study, which produced what EEOC Commissioner Lipnic called a “jaw-dropping moment,” when concluded by finding that 30 years of training has had no impact on the incidence of sexual harassment in the workplace. According to the EEOC, training just simply hasn’t been effective. As NPR has reported, it’s not just the EEOC that thinks training is ineffective; that is unfortunately the opinion of a good many trainers as well. Now, the EEOC recommends a different kind of training that is less focused on the legal issues and more customized to each workforce. To be sure, though, some training is still a best practice.

Other best practices recommended by the EEOC and in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times articles include the following:

  • Clear and updated EEO, sexual harassment, complaint and anti-retaliation policies (again, with related training).
  • Frequent communication of those policies to workers from hire throughout their employment.
  • Enforcement of those policies, in particular the anti-retaliation policy for people who complain and/or participate in the investigation of sexual harassment.
  • Prompt investigations of complaints or concerns.
  • Effective remedial measures, including discipline up to discharge, where investigations establish a violation.

To that list, this author would add consideration of whether an anonymous complaint reporting system is practical in a company’s workplace.

Sources: The Workplace After Harvey Weinstein: Harassment Scandals Prompt Rapid Changes – WSJWill Harvey Weinstein’s Fall Finally Reform Men? – The New York Times

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