They came to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and they talked about ways to improve workplaces in America. They were employees and employers, as well as academics, psychologists, advocacy groups, trainers, union representatives and attorneys.
They gave the EEOC task force their ideas about how to prevent workplace harassment and how to stop it once it starts. Now the task force has released its 95-page report chock full of strategies that employers can use to thwart workplace harassment that can include sex discrimination, racially insensitive comments and communications, religious discrimination and hostile physical conduct.
According to a report from a publication for Human Resources professionals, the report says the employer culture starts at the top. Upper management must help create a culture in which harassment and workplace discrimination are not allowed.
The task force also warns employers against complacency. Do not copy and paste training manuals and workplace policies. Instead HR pros are urged to tailor rules to their companies.
Another suggestion: encourage co-workers to speak up when they witness harassment.
In a similar vein, employees should be encouraged to report harassment and complain about discrimination. Also, they should make sure their policy is understood and repeated so that everyone is on the same page.
Employers should also not funnel all reports of inappropriate behavior through one person. They should create multiple points of contact for employees to make use of when filing a report.
Also, hold managers and supervisors accountable for how well or how poorly they respond to complaints of on-the-job harassment. This can be done with performance reviews and metrics, the report states.
For those Milwaukee employees who have suffered workplace harassment or discrimination, it can make sense to have a confidential discussion with an employment attorney about your rights and your situation.