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Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace: Excerpts from EEOC Select Task Force Executive Summary & Recommendations June 2016

Recommendations proposed in the EEOC Select Task Force Report on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace (June 2016) advocate a ground-swell of top-down change in how anti-harassment training in workplace is approached. Excerpted recommendations made by the EEOC Select Task Force include the following:

“Training Must Change. Much of the training done over the last 30 years has not worked as a prevention tool – it’s been too focused on simply avoiding legal liability. We believe effective training can reduce workplace harassment, and recognize that ineffective training can be unhelpful or even counterproductive. However, even effective training cannot occur in a vacuum – it must be part of a holistic culture of non-harassment that starts at the top. Similarly, one size does not fit all: Training is most effective when tailored to the specific workforce and workplace, and to different cohorts of employees. Finally, when trained correctly, middle-managers and first-line supervisors in particular can be an employer’s most valuable resource in preventing and stopping harassment.”

Highlighting the fact that it has become ineffective to continue focusing on merely avoiding litigation the Task Force recommends that:

“New and Different Approaches to Training Should Be Explored. We heard of several new models of training that may show promise for harassment training. “Bystander intervention training” – increasingly used to combat sexual violence on school campuses – empowers co-workers and gives them the tools to intervene when they witness harassing behavior, and may show promise for harassment prevention. Workplace “civility training” that does not focus on eliminating unwelcome or offensive behavior based on characteristics protected under employment non-discrimination laws, but rather on promoting respect and civility in the workplace generally, likewise may offer solutions.”

Comprehensive and custom tailored training programs, including business etiquette training, are only some of the many areas where your organization can start to become truly effective at preventing and stopping harassment in the workplace.

Find the EEOC’s Executive Summary and links to the full report at U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

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