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EEOC and DOJ Strengthen Stance Against Harassment at State and Local Levels

On Dec. 21, the U.S. Equal Employment Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to address and prevent workplace harassment within state and local government sectors. It is crucial that all employers, public or private understand its contents.

With the signing of this memorandum, the two entities have strengthened their stance on harassment. Policies will be bolstered, resources will be used efficiently and enforcement will become consistent.

What this means for employers

First, harassment will not be tolerated, beginning with government entities. The memo includes provisions for immediate action to prevent further harm by expediting charges, allowing the EEOC and DOJ to achieve faster resolution of harassment claims. Employers need to be alert and aware of any changes to state and local government anti-harassment policies, as the trickle-down effect could make its way to all workplaces.

Second, it’s time to revisit the anti-harassment policies within your organization. Are your employees equipped and able to report harassment without fear of retaliation? Does your organization have a clear reporting process for violations? Can they properly identify harassment behaviors or actions? Employee training is an excellent way to give your employees the skills they need to pinpoint inappropriate behaviors.

Your policy may need to be revised. If you don’t have one in place, create one! And then communicate it to your workforce.

As you review your company’s policy, it’s important to note how potential changes within state and local government could apply to your organization. If a revamp or creation of your anti-harassment policy is needed, Paycom is here to help with:

On the rise

Because of the #MeToo movement, harassment – particularly in the workplace – has dominated headlines over the past year.

At the forefront of the fight against such behaviors is the EEOC. In fiscal year 2018, the EEOC recovered around $70 million through enforcement and litigation for harassment victims –   a significant increase from $47.5 million in 2017.

That’s not the only increase. The number of sexual harassment charges filed rose by 13.6% in 2018 compared to 2017.

As the EEOC and DOJ continue to combat harassment, employers should remain diligent within their policymaking to mitigate risk and provide a safe environment to protect your greatest asset: your employees.

About the author
Author picture, Jennifer Kraszewski
Jennifer Kraszewski
Jennifer Kraszewski, Paycom’s senior executive vice president of human resources, has more than 20 years of HR leadership experience, driving transformative, business-focused human capital strategies in high-growth industries to achieve efficiencies, compliance and employee engagement. Named by Human Resource Executive® magazine as one of the Top 100 HR Tech Influencers in 2020 and 2021, Kraszewski is a featured blogger and hosts webinars on HR topics through the Society for Human Resource Management, HR Daily and She is SPHR- and SHRM-SCP-certified.