The EEOC Has Embraced the #MeToo Movement
The #MeToo movement has put a spotlight on workplace sexual harassment and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has taken notice. The EEOC released preliminary enforcement data for the 2018 fiscal year to highlight its recent efforts to address the pervasive problem of workplace harassment. In fiscal year 2018:
- the number sexual harassment lawsuits filed by the EEOC increased by more than 50 percent;
- the number sexual harassment charges received by the EEOC increased by more than 12 percent; and
- the EEOC recovered nearly $70 million for victims of sexual harassment, which is $22.5 million more than the amount collected in 2017.
The EEOC released this data to put employers on notice that combating workplace sexual harassment remains a top priority. Employers must do their part to promote and maintain harassment-free workplaces. This includes having an anti-harassment policy.
To be effective, anti-harassment policies must be written clearly and in a manner that is easily understood by employees. Policies should be tailored to meet specific organizational and operational characteristics. But, according to the EEOC, effective anti-harassment policies typically have the following elements in common.
- An unequivocal statement that harassment will not be tolerated.
- An easy-to-understand description of prohibited conduct, including examples.
- An easily accessible reporting system that provides multiple avenues for employees to report instances of harassment so they can be investigated promptly, thoroughly and impartially.
- A statement that reports (identities and information) will be kept confidential to the extent possible consistent with a thorough and impartial investigation.
- An assurance that necessary corrective action will be taken if it is determined that harassment has occurred.
- An assurance that those who submit reports will be protected against unlawful retaliation and that those who retaliate against another will be disciplined appropriately.
To receive regular updates about developments which may affect your business, subscribe to The Human Equation's news briefs. The Human Equation prepares all risk management and insurance content with the professional guidance of Setnor Byer Insurance and Risk.