The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released proposed guidance on workplace harassment prohibited under federal law. The new guidance, posted on September 29, 2023, is available for public review and commentary until November 1, 2023. If finalized, this guidance will supersede five longstanding guidance documents issued from 1987 through 1999. In other words, this is the first proposed EEOC guidance on harassment in the past 25 years.
An agency press release notes that the EEOC last attempted to update its workplace harassment guidance ...
Organizations that successfully create an inclusive and positive culture understand that all of its people have an important role to play in maintaining a harassment-free workplace. Any incident of harassment can affect more than just the parties directly involved, and all employees are responsible for helping to maintain a working environment that is free from harassment, discrimination, and other inappropriate conduct.
Ensuring that employees understand their role as bystanders to potential incidents is vital to creating a safe and inclusive culture, and in some jurisdictions, providing such training is mandatory.
This post will explain what it means to be a “bystander” and review three key reasons why bystander intervention training can help your organization prevent workplace harassment.
What Is a Bystander?
Whenever a potentially inappropriate interaction between two individuals occurs, any third party who either directly witnesses the behavior or learns of it later becomes a “bystander”—that is, not a target or an offender, but a witness, whether direct or indirect. For example, someone who overhears inappropriately gratuitous commentary directed at a co-worker in an adjoining office could be a direct witness. An indirect witness might be a colleague in whom someone who is feeling harassed confides that they are feeling uncomfortable with a co-worker’s remarks or actions.
In an attempt to protect hotel employees such as housekeepers and room service attendants from violent acts by hotel guests, including sexual assault and harassment, New Jersey recently passed a novel law requiring New Jersey hotels with more than 100 guest rooms to arm hotel employees assigned to work in a guest room alone with a free panic button device. Under the law, hotel employees who activate the button on the reasonable belief there is an ongoing crime, immediate threat of assault or harassment, or other emergency, can immediately leave the guest’s room and await assistance ...
On July 9, 2018, Governor Edmund Brown, Jr. signed into law Assembly Bill 2770 (“AB 2770”) to protect victims of sexual harassment and employers from defamation claims brought by alleged harassers. AB 2770 was sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce and passed by the California Legislature to address the chilling effect that the threat of defamation suits can have on harassment victims and employers: deterring victims and witnesses from coming forward; deterring employers from telling prospective employers about a genuine harasser; and allowing repeat sexual ...
Last week, the EEOC released its latest edition of its federal sector Digest of Equal Opportunity Law, a quarterly publication featuring recent Commission decisions and federal court cases selected by EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations. This edition features an article titled, “Promising Practices for Preventing Harassment,” which is the fruition of an EEOC task force on workplace harassment. The article, which is particularly timely given the #MeToo movement, advances five core principles to deter and remedy harassment: (1) committed and engaged leadership; (2 ...
On March 21, 2018, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed bill SB 5996 (the “Law”), which prohibits employers from requiring as a condition of employment that employees sign a nondisclosure agreement preventing them from discussing workplace sexual harassment or sexual assault. The Law goes into effect on June 7, 2018.
In addition to sexual offenses in the workplace, the Law covers such incidents that occur at work-related events “coordinated by or through the employer,” or between employees, or between an employer and an employee off the employment premises. The new Law ...
Imagine that an employee asks to come to your office to address concerns about workplace harassment. Pursuant to the company’s open door and non-harassment policies, you promptly schedule a meeting. When the employee arrives, she sits down, sets her smartphone on the desk facing you, and turns on the video camera before beginning to speak. Can you instruct her to turn off the recording device? Can you stop the meeting if she refuses? Would the answer change if the recording was surreptitious?
The answer to questions like these have become more blurry since the decision last year by the ...
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