Strong leadership support, prompt investigations, and swift disciplinary action when warranted are among the most effective steps an employer can take against harassment in the workplace, the EEOC has said.
The commission recently examined the issue at a public meeting that while focusing on private sector employers touched on issues also applicable in the federal workplace.
“If there is one thing we have learned so far, it is that the more we can do to prevent harassment before it happens, the better off we will all be,” said commissioner Chai R. Feldblum in a statement. “Remedying harassment is never as good as stopping it before it happened.”
Among the aspects stressed are that employers should have multiple access points for reporting harassment; that they should have programs, and not just policies, to convey that harassment is unacceptable in their workplace; that it’s a manager’s responsibility to set the tone but employees at all levels play a role; and that all employees, not just managers, need to be trained, preferably with a live trainer and no less often than every 18 months.