“What Works” When Fighting Workplace Harassment

One year into the social movement that has exposed widespread sexual harassment in the workplace, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) convened a public meeting of experts to review promising practices to prevent misconduct. The common thread throughout the experts’ testimony is that a “holistic approach” to workplace culture is essential to successfully combat this problem. All employers can benefit from the lessons offered by the discussion.

  • Civility

Uncivil workplace behaviors provide fertile ground for harassment. Employers will likely benefit by actively promoting kindness and civil interactions at all levels of the organization.

  • “What if”

Encouraging bystanders who witness harassment to speak up on behalf of others is a key new approach, but it requires training and support to be effective. Providing “what if” scenarios in training boosts the likelihood that bystanders will overcome their hesitancies and take action.

  • In the Moment

Train employees to understand how to react to their harasser, and what to do immediately when harassment happens.

  • Leadership

The tone and actions of leadership matters greatly. Without visible and vigorous buy-in at the top, there is no chance for success.

  • Board of Directors

For organizations with a Board (e.g., non-profits), they must accept the essential role to not tolerate harassment as well.

  • Values training

Help employees understand the organization’s values to impact the choices they make and discourage harassment.

Complete transcripts from the panel of experts can be accessed here.

The EEOC will hold open the October 31, 2018 meeting record for 15 days and invites the public to submit written comments on any issues or matters discussed at the meeting.