This June, the EEOC Harassment Task Force published a report that offers a comprehensive study on why workplace harassment still exists and what we can do to prevent and curb it’s lingering devastation. The report was headed by Chai R. Feldblum & Victoria A. Lipnic, who spent the past year researching and preparing the report.
In the EEOC’s Report, the findings show that despite the large number of cases submitted each year, employees consistently face long delays or ambivalence when waiting for a resolution. Further, the report outlined that despite Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which recognizes sexual harassment as a form of discrimination, our country must continue to re examine and implement stronger practices.
The report suggests several striking facts: 90,000 cases of workplace harassment were reported in 2015. And an even larger number of cases were not reported. In fact, the committee found that nearly 3 out 4 individuals who experienced workplace harassment failed to report the behavior.
While the acts of harassment remain the harder action to curb, it is possible through the implementation of better policies. Once reporting becomes the first and immediate response of harassment, in time, the events will decrease. The report challenges the EEOC community at large, all employers, academics, and individuals in roles of leadership to begin the hard work of eradicating harassment from the workplace.
How can you adopt better practices in your workplace today? Here are six tips based off of the new report’s findings and suggestions. As an employer, creating a safe and healthy place to work should be at the top of your list. Implementing the following ideas are a great way to start!
- Adopt a Policy
All employers must adopt an anti-harassment policy that protects their works. Harassment can occur in several forms, including verbally, physically, sexually, and emotionally.
- Communicate Your Policy
Once your policy is set into place, be sure to talk early and often to your employees on the depth of the policy. You’ll want to make clear the correct steps to take if an employee observes or experiences any form of harassment.
- Diversify Reporting
As an employer, it’s your responsibility to make sure that reporting can and will happen. To facilitate this step, institute several methods of reporting and allocate multiple people as office Reporters. Try and diversify these people throughout your company so that your employees have a variety of people to talk with who they feel comfortable.
- Be Aware of Retaliation
Don’t turn a blind eye to a problem that continues to plague employees who report harassment. Often times, these employees face severe retaliatory attacks after bringing information to the surface. Do all that you can to protect the employee who has brought you the case. Consider creative options, like switching teams or moving workspaces to remove the employee from an future attack.
- Do a Trial
Test your own system to make sure that all of your steps are aligned. This can be one of the most fruitful ways when creating a new system to protect your employees.
- Be Prompt + Consistent
Structure your system in a way that handles all reports quickly and institutes consistent consequences. You’ll want to make it clear to your employees what will happen after a documented event. Keep to this plan. Your structure will become increasingly stronger when your policies are consistent, punctual, and thorough.