The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released for public comment proposed enforcement guidance
addressing unlawful harassment claims brought under federal employment discrimination law. The guidance explains the legal standards applicable to such claims, which may be brought under laws protecting workers from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, and genetic information.
The updates provided by the proposed enforcement guidance are intended to assist employers in efforts to prevent and address harassment in the workplace, an issue that was alleged in over thirty percent of all private sector charges of discrimination filed with the EEOC as recently as 2015.
"Harassment remains a serious workplace problem that is the concern of all Americans. It is important for employers to understand the actions they can take today to prevent and address harassment in their workplaces," said EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang. Commissioner Chai R. Feldblum further explained, "This guidance clearly sets forth the Commission's positions on harassment law, provides helpful explanatory examples, and provides promising practices based on the recommendations in the report."
The proposed enforcement guidance will be available for comment until February 9, 2017. Input may be submitted either electronically (via www.regulations.gov
) or by sending written feedback to Public Input, EEOC, Executive Officer, 131 M Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20507. After reviewing the public input, the Commission will make further revisions to the proposed guidance before finalizing and publishing it.