EEOC Looks to Help Employers Reduce Workplace Sexual Harassment
A strong workforce is one of many things necessary to make a business successful. There are multiple ways in which this can be accomplished including keeping the workplace free of sexual harassment. While activities that constitute this behavior are prohibited under federal law, sexual harassment in the workplace does still happen. When it does it can be costly to an employer. Because the best way to deal with this matter is to prevent it from happening in the first place, it is vital that businesses take steps to keep workplaces free from sexual harassment.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is taking steps to help employers with this by identifying things that can be put into place to reduce the number of instances of sexual harassment that occur in the workplace. It is also trying to determine the best way to enforce such acts when they do occur. The preliminary findings of the task force the EEOC pulled together, focus on things many employers may already be doing such as initiating investigations promptly after receiving complaints, making it easy for employees to make complaints and taking swift disciplinary action in situations when it is appropriate.
One expert in the field unrelated to the EEOC task force, offers three reasons that could be to blame when sexual harassment occurs in the workplace despite employer training. The first is that some employees do not believe that they are engaging in sexual conduct. Second, employees may believe that it is okay to engage in conduct that constitutes sexual harassment as long as there is consent from the other party. Last, they may not believe that what they are doing constitutes sexual harassment. The reality is none of these reasons excuse the behavior and this message should be communicated to employees.
Employment lawyers can help businesses in Maryland create and enforce policies regarding sexual harassment that prevent or keep such incidents to a minimum.