*Update: The EEOC has extended time for input an additional forty days. Public input will be available until March 21, 2017.
Responding to a surprising rise in workplace harassment allegations, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced they will seek public input regarding their proposed enforcement guidance of workplace harassment. In 2012, the EEOC reported that slightly more than 25% of all private sector charges included an allegation of harassment. In 2015, that number jumped to 31%.
The EEOC’s proposed “Enforcement Guidance on Unlawful Harassment” document is available for review and input at https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EEOC-2016-0009. It outlines what qualifies as harassment and the consequences of inappropriate workplace conduct.
The move to open up to the public for advice is normally seen on local levels. With advancements in technology, the public is now beginning to see how state and federal departments are reaching out to the community for valuable input.
Employers looking to take an active part in legislation can now make their opinions known. Forbes reports that the chief concern of CEOs in 2016 was over-regulation, with 79% surveyed saying they think it will be one of the severest threats to business. Now, with a new Presidential Cabinet and talk of drastic changes in government policies, worry over remaining compliant with local, state, and federal law will most likely remain at the top of the list for 2017.
EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang said, “Harassment remains a serious workplace problem that is the concern of all Americans. It is important for employers to understand the actions they can take today to prevent and address harassment in their workplaces. The Commission looks forward to hearing public input on the proposed enforcement guidance.”
For those who wish to send written feedback rather than electronic, mail your input to: Public Input, EEOC, Executive Officer, 131 M Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20507.
All commentary needs to be submitted prior to February 9, 2017. After this date the EEOC will stop accepting comments from the public.
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Andrew is the Marketing Communications Specialist for Zuman, the one solution for HR, payroll, and benefits administration that supports growing small to midsize businesses.More Content by Andrew Larsen