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EEOC recommends new approach to harassment prevention

Last week, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its recommendations for a new, more effective approach to preventing harassment in the workplace. In the 18 months prior, the Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace, worked closely with sociologists, industrial-organizational psychologists, investigators, trainers, lawyers, employers, and advocates, to gain the most comprehensive understanding of harassment, its causes, its effects, and what can be done to prevent it.

More than laws and rules

Through their extensive study and review of the complex issues surrounding harassment, the Commission found that, despite the laws that are in place and the fact that many organizations have implemented policies and training, there are forms of discrimination and harassment that continue in the workplace and are in serious need of abatement.
The Task Force examined the actions that could potentially be corrected and recommended a variety of solutions that focused on the importance of leadership commitment, accountability of behavior (not only illegal, but unprofessional or uncivil conduct) and the need to incorporate not just compliance, but civility into the workplace environment.
What was also notable in the study were the recommendations as to how compliance training must change in which ways that closely mirror what ELI has continually promoted and which is embodied in ELI’s flagship training program, Civil Treatment®.

ELI CEO quoted in study

Steve Paskoff, President and CEO of ELI, was cited in several places within the study. Given the EEOC’s acknowledgment that combating discrimination is ultimately about workplace culture, values, and ongoing behavior, Paskoff believes the Commission’s recommendations can have a powerful impact on our workplaces. He’s been an advocate of this approach for years, and it’s the foundation on which ELI’s learning is built.
He said, “Attempting to change culture by communicating the law through posters, messages, and even mandatory check-the-box training is simply not enough. Instead, leadership must repeat key messages, focus on ranges of behavior, and communicate in an understandable way how businesses and individuals are harmed by toxic behavior, which may not be grossly illegal or actionable. Accountability and raising concerns are also both recognized as critical. This is our exact approach and was incorporated in my recent book, Civility Rules. We were delighted to find that the EEOC referenced our work and results, in this landmark report.”
Want to learn more about the EEOC report? Click here to visit our EEOC Study of Harassment in the Workplace resource center.

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