News & Insights

Respectful WorkplaceJuly 6, 2023by Heather Broadwater5 Core Principles to Prevent and Address Workplace Harassment

The EEOC provides guiding principles to curb bad behavior in the workplace through prevention training.

Compliance is often a stuffy word that makes business leaders feel like they’re wasting time on cutting through red tape rather than cutting through to the real issues of their business. However, when it comes to preventing and addressing workplace harassment, the principles set forth by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission not only help you maintain a legally compliant workplace, but they serve to create a respectful environment for everyone on your team. It all starts with prevention and transparency. 

If you’re looking to achieve both, the EEOC released a report in 2017 sharing five core principles that have generally proven effective in preventing and addressing harassment:

  • Committed and engaged leadership
  • Consistent and demonstrated accountability
  • Strong and comprehensive harassment policies
  • Trusted and accessible complaint procedures
  • Regular, interactive training tailored to the audience and the organization

The report also includes checklists based on these principles to assist employers in preventing and responding to workplace harassment. The checklist included below discusses an important recommendation: holding Compliance Training, also known as Harassment Prevention Training to educate employees regarding an employer’s policy, reporting systems, and investigations. A successful and productive compliance training is based on the following structural principles and includes the following content:

Structural Principles

  • Supported at the highest levels
  • Repeated and reinforced on a regular basis
  • Provided to all employees at every level of the organization
  • Conducted by qualified, live, and interactive trainers
  • If live training is not feasible, designed to include active engagement by participants
  • Routinely evaluated and modified as necessary

Content of Compliance Training for All Employees

  • Describes illegal harassment, and conduct that, if left unchecked, might rise to the level of illegal harassment
  • Includes examples that are tailored to the specific workplace and the specific workforce
  • Educates employees about their rights and responsibilities if they experience conduct that is not acceptable in the workplace
  • Describes, in simple terms, the process for reporting harassment that is experienced or observed
  • Explains the consequences of engaging in conduct unacceptable in the workplace

Content of Compliance Training for Managers and First-line Supervisors

  • Provides easy-to-understand and realistic methods for dealing with harassment that they observe, that is reported to them, or of which they have knowledge or information, including description of sanctions for failing to use such methods
  • Provides clear instructions on how to report harassing behavior up the chain of command, including description of sanctions for failing to report
  • Encourages managers and supervisors to practice “situational awareness” and assess the workforces within their responsibility for risk factors of harassment

If you have several unchecked boxes or have not held harassment prevention training for your employees, managers, and supervisors within the last two years, now is the time to conduct the training to help ensure your workplace is compliant with anti-harassment laws. Attorneys at Stanton Law have decades of experience conducting harassment prevention and respectful workplace training. We are happy to schedule time with you to discuss harassment prevention and / or conduct training in your workplace. Contact Heather Broadwater for more information today.