EEOC Harassment Compliance Service
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency responsible for investigating harassment complaints and upholding federal laws.
The Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC) works with the EEOC to administer and enforce the Washington State Law Against Discrimination.
The EEOC is stepping up its efforts to investigate harassment claims made by agricultural workers against their employers. These recent complaints, which resulted in millions of dollars in settlements and fines, could have been avoided if the employers would have acted preemptively to stop the harassment before it started. With stakes this high, it makes business sense to be prepared.
Let us help you create a culture of compliance to prevent work site harassment by setting procedures that will cause internal alarms to detect harassment issues.
We can help you foster a culture of compliance at your company as well as implement policies and procedures so you are prepared to rapidly handle harassment complaints internally, mitigating the risk of a costly lawsuit. We will arrange an onsite audit of your current HR policies related to harassment. If you don’t have a policy regarding harassment, we’ll help you create one. If you don’t have a procedure to respond to a harassment complaint, we’ll help you design one. Finally, we’ll help you apply EEOC’s best practices to clearly communicate these workplace policies and procedures to your staff and ensure your progressive discipline policies and procedures are fair and accurate.
If you become aware of discriminatory behavior or a complaint has been filed, it is crucial to act promptly and investigate allegations and document any action taken.
Once a complaint has been filed, it typically proceeds to the investigative stage, unless mediation has been requested (see below). Choosing an investigator is vital to the success of the entire complaint process. The investigator’s role is to conduct a thorough and objective investigation. The investigator will document the investigation and prepare a report summarizing the data gathered.
An investigation requires a detailed plan and will include:
• Background of the case
• Positions of the parties
• Issues of the case
• Evidence that needs to be obtained
• People who must be interviewed
• Places that need to be visited
This plan may be revised and updated as the investigation proceeds.
When you become aware of discriminatory behavior or an employee files a complaint, mediation may be offered as an alternative.
Mediation is a way to resolve conflict. In mediation, the two parties meet with a neutral third party to discuss issues and come to a resolution.
What are its advantages?
Mediation can be very empowering for both parties, as they both have a say in how the matter is worked out. It can also be less traumatizing than a formal investigation process and much more private. It typically takes far less time and resources to perform mediation than to perform a full-scale harassment investigation. Most importantly, it can be a learning experience, so that the behavior that caused the issue is addressed and modified. As well, relationships can be preserved and even strengthened which is crucial when the conflict is between two team members.
When should mediation be used?
Mediation can be used when the people involved in the conflict want:
- A quick resolution
- A say in the process and the outcome
- To maintain a working relationship
- To be heard but don’t want an investigation
Create a culture of compliance to prevent workplace harassment by providing bilingual onsite training.