Excerpted from a Shawe Rosenthal LLP Blog by Fiona W. Ong

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued guidance to assist federal agencies in preventing and remedying harassment in the workplace – but specifically observed that “many of the practices identified may also be helpful to practitioners outside of the federal government.” Thus, private employers may find the following suggestions useful in terms of both preventing harassment and in defending against claims of harassment before the EEOC.

The EEOC organized its recommendations into four categories. We have selected some of the more useful or interesting recommendations as follows:

Leadership and Accountability. To demonstrate commitment and accountability, top management may undertake the following:

Comprehensive and Effective Anti-Harassment Policy. In addition to the typical recommendations regarding a comprehensive and clear anti-harassment policy (e.g. using clear language, identifying the protected bases, providing multiple channels of complaint, prohibiting retaliation for reporting harassment, assuring a prompt and thorough investigation and appropriate corrective action, ensuring confidentiality to the extent possible), the EEOC suggests the following:

Effective and Accessible Anti-Harassment Program. The EEOC notes that policies should not exist in a vacuum, but must be part of a comprehensive program that ensures that all employees understand the anti-harassment procedures. In addition to setting up investigative and remedial procedures, such programs should include the following:

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