EEOC Issues Harassment Guidance For Public Comment

Written by Robert G. Brody and Katherine M. Bogard on March 23, 2017

In January, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), the federal watch dog charged with enforcing anti-discrimination laws, issued proposed new harassment guidance seeking input from the public.  The public comment period ended March 21, 2017.

One big take away from the Guidance is that it is the EEOC’s position that discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity is prohibited by federal law.  This news is not earth shattering because the EEOC has long held this position.  However, to date, Federal Courts of Appeal who have addressed this issue have disagreed.  Alternatively, states have long held gender identity and sexual orientation are protected characteristics.  Therefore, employers must be mindful of the relevant laws in their respective states.

Additionally, the guidance provides many examples of unlawful conduct.  It is not focused solely on sexual harassment but also on any harassment related to a protected class, such as race or religion.

It is unclear when the Guidance will become final.  However, employers should be mindful of the proposed guidance, as investigators will likely use the proposed guidance as a guide in investigating EEOC charges.  We will keep you posted as the guidance works its way through the process to becoming final.

Brody and Associates regularly provides counsel on civil rights issues and employment laws in general. If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.454.0560.

About the Authors

Robert G. Brody is the founding member of Brody and Associates, LLC. He has been quoted and published in national publications and appears as a guest T.V. commentator on contemporary Labor and Employment issues. Learn More

Kate Bogard is an Associate with Brody and Associates, LLC. She works on both Labor and Employment Law matters. Learn More