EEOC Publishes Harassment Prevention Guide for Federal Sector

The EEOC recently published “Promising Practices for Preventing Harassment in the Federal Sector,” a technical assistance document which provides tips for preventing and addressing harassment in the workplace. Although this guide only applies to federal agencies, some of the strategies may be helpful for other employers to implement in their efforts to promote a harassment-free workplace. A link to the full document is included in the comments.

The document identifies a few requirements and numerous suggestions, which are too lengthy to list in this post. Below is a list of some strategies many employers don’t currently implement:

  • Conducting climate and exit surveys as well as reviewing EEO complaint data to gauge the prevalence of harassment, retaliation, and other unwelcome work-related conduct
  • Ensuring that anti-harassment policies and training include the range of penalties that may be imposed on any employee who engages in harassment
  • Acknowledging and rewarding employees, supervisors, and managers for taking actions that prevent harassment and creating and maintaining a culture in which harassment is not tolerated  
  • Including prohibitions against bullying, intimidation, and stalking in the anti-harassment policies
  • Informing supervisors and managers about ways to monitor for online harassment, including in a virtual work environment
  • Considering trauma-informed training for all personnel who may receive or respond to allegations of harassment or harassing conduct
  • Ensuring that the agency's response to harassment allegations is regularly evaluated and documented through an electronic tracking system

The guidance identifies many other tips and recommendations, serving as a reminder that there are a variety of improvements all employers can make to promote harassment-free workplace. Simply “checking the box” by publishing an outdated anti-harassment policy and delivering outdated non-interactive training is simply not sufficient if a company truly wants to make positive changes.


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