EEOC Finalizes New Guidance on Harassment in the Workplace 

April, 2024 - Brian J. Moore, Jared A. Phalen

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has submitted its final version of enforcement guidance on workplace harassment. We previously reported on the new guidance when it was proposed in early October of 2023.

This is the first time the EEOC has updated its workplace harassment guidance since 1999. Some of the new topics addressed include remote work, the #MeToo movement and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia. In Bostock, the Court extended protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to workers who are discriminated against based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Additionally, this new guidance consolidates and replaces five agency documents issued between 1987 and 1999 to serve as a single, unified agency resource on EEOC-enforced workplace harassment law.

The guidance was originally drafted in 2017, however, it was never approved under the Trump Administration causing the new guidance to stall. Publishing of the new guidance once again gained traction after the October 2023 publication. In response to the new harassment guidance, the EEOC received almost 40,000 comments. After the EEOC voted along party lines to approve the guidance, it was sent to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget for review. Once reviewed and approved by the Office of Management and Budget, the final guidance will be published.

What Employers Need to Know

While the guidance is not legally binding, it is frequently cited in harassment cases and provides the foundation for the EEOC to file harassment claims against employers. According to the EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows, “harassment, both in-person and online, remains a serious issue in America’s workplaces.” The numbers back up this claim—since 2018, over half of federal sector equal employment opportunity complaints allege harassment. Because of this, the EEOC continues to place a high priority on harassment in the workplace.

Employers with questions on the new guidance, or harassment in the workplace, should reach out to their local Dinsmore & Shohl LLP attorneys.


Link to article


WSG Member: Please login to add your comment.