In a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) committed to addressing harassment issues within state and local governments. Citing the need for the “efficient use of resources” and a “consistent enforcement strategy,” the two agencies committed to taking a closer look into harassment claims against public sector employers, as well as ramping up education and outreach efforts.
Public sector employers may wish to take note of the MOU’s amended provisions. These provide for an expedited process to effectuate injunctive or other relief where the EEOC’s preliminary investigation indicates that there is probable cause to believe that discrimination, specifically harassment, occurred. Given the amendments that were made by the EEOC and DOJ, public sector employers should understand that they are under the microscope now, more than ever, and must act swiftly to investigate and, if necessary, correct harassment whenever it occurs.