June 21, 2016

To avoid the heavy legal and economic costs of workplace harassment, law departments should be addressing them head-on, not delegating to human resources, according to a report issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace

The EEOC report, authored by task force co-chairs and EEOC commissioners Chai Feldblum and Victoria Lipnic, outlines the clear business case for preventing and stopping harassment. Beyond the direct legal fees and penalties, harassment can affect employee morale, health and productivity and leave the company dealing with employee turnover and reputational harm.

One of the most useful parts of the EEOC report was the task force's identification of a number of risk factors for harassment based on research and expert testimony. Employers can focus on minimizing certain situations that can give rise to harassment.

“They provide a road map for the features of a workplace that might aggravate or heighten the risk of harassment, and to diligent employers they ought to be the start of the inquiry to do a careful self-examination of a workplace,” says Joseph Sellers, Chair of the Civil Rights and Employment practice at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC and a Member of the EEOC’s Select Task Force

The full article can be viewed here.