For nearly a year now, a task force created by the EEOC has been charged with finding the best ways to stymie harassment of all types in the workplace — and its efforts are starting to bear fruit. 

At its second public meeting, the EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace named these tactics as some of the best ways to stop/prevent workplace harassment:

  • Get buyers to place pressure on companies to prevent harassment.
  • Empower bystanders to be part of the solution.
  • Create multiple access points for reporting harassment.
  • Conduct prompt investigations into reports of harassment.
  • Take swift disciplinary action when warranted.
  • Get strong support from top leadership for anti-harassment initiatives.

In addition, Heidi-Jane Olguin, CEO of Progressive Management Resources, who was invited to speak at the meeting, suggested ways employers can make harassment training more effective. They were:

  • Train all employees, not just managers and executives.
  • Conduct training every 12 to 18 months.
  • Use live trainers.
  • Make sure the training is tailor specifically to the workplace.
  • Train in multiple languages when large segments of a workforce aren’t fluent in English.
  • Train employees, managers and HR representatives separately.

The meeting was designed to explore innovative steps to prevent harassment in the workplace, and during the meeting examples were given of how companies are applying the steps outlined above.

Pressuring companies

One of those examples was given by panelist Judge Laura Safer Espinoza, director of the Fair Food Standards Council. She shared that companies like Walmart and McDonald’s are placing pressure on companies to prevent harassment.

Specifically, Espinoza explained that Walmart and McDonald’s only purchase tomatoes from growers that have implemented a human rights code of conduct enforced by the council.

The task force

The EEOC’s task force was created back in March and is comprised of representatives from academia and the social sciences, legal practices, employer and employee advocacy groups, and unions.

It’s holding a series of meetings designed to discuss harassment and bring solutions to this widespread workplace program the forefront.

“Today’s meeting made clear that all parties — employers, workers, bystanders, and regulators — have a role to play in combating and eliminating workplace harassment,” said EEOC Commissioner and Task Force Co-Chair Victoria A. Lipnic of the latest public meeting. “The testimony we heard today set out a number of promising practices, which we will continue to explore going forward.”

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