EEOC task force to study workplace harassment
By Judy Greenwald, Crain News Service
WASHINGTON (Jan. 20, 2015) — Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chair Jenny R. Yang has established a task force to address the issue of workplace harassment during a public hearing on the issue Jan. 14.
Ms. Yang said the task force, which will be co-chaired by commissioners Chai Feldblum and Victoria Lipnic, will convene experts from the employer community, workers' advocates, human resources experts and academics, among others, in an effort to identify effective strategies that prevent and remedy workplace harassment.
“Through this task force we hope to better reach workers to ensure they know their rights and to better reach employers to promote best practices,” Ms. Yang said, according to a statement issued by the agency on the hearing.
“The EEOC is working to leverage our resources to have a greater impact on the persistent problem of workplace harassment,” Ms. Yang said. “By identifying underlying problems in workplaces and industries where we see recurring patterns of harassment, we are developing strategies that focus on targeted outreach and education as well as systemic enforcement to promote broader voluntary compliance.”
In addition to worker advocates, speakers at the hearing included Patricia Wise, a partner with Toledo, Ohio-based law firm Niehaus Wise & Kalas Ltd., which represents employers, and is active in the Alexandria, Va.-based Society for Human Resource Management.
Prevention, according to Ms. Wise, “is the best tool to eliminate harassment in the workplace. Employers should take steps to prevent harassment and should clearly communicate to employees that harassment will not be tolerated.”
Other speakers at the meeting included Carol Miaskoff, acting associate legal counsel of the EEOC who said having a policy is insufficient if it is not communicated understandably to the workforce. In a workforce that includes many teens, the policy should be understandable to the average high school student, for example, Ms. Miaskoff said.
The Commission will hold the meeting record open for 15 days, and members of the public are invited to submit written comments, which should be sent to: Commission Meeting, EEOC Executive Officer, 131 M Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20507, or emailed to [email protected]
This report appeared on the website of Crain's Business Insurance magazine, a Chicago-based sister publication of Tire Business.
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