WASHINGTON - Today the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) convened an "Industry Leaders Roundtable Discussion on Harassment Prevention." The Roundtable continues the EEOC's efforts to lead harassment prevention efforts, including two Commission meetings and a Reconvening of the Select Task Force in the wake of the #MeToo movement. The roundtable will inform strategies for the next generation of issues flowing from the EEOC Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace in 2015, the task force Co-Chairs' 2016 Report, and the #MeToo movement.
"The EEOC gathered these leaders to better understand the needs of the workers and employers in their industries and the wide range of solutions to prevent workplace harassment," said EEOC Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic. "The EEOC stands ready to help in the effort to change workplace cultures to be more respectful and inclusive," added Lipnic.
EEOC Commissioner Charlotte A. Burrows stated, "Today's roundtable discussion is an important step in furthering the Commission's goal of ending workplace harassment and implementing strategies to build on the work of the EEOC Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace. I am pleased to have the thoughtful input from so many different industries, and I will continue to work to ensure the Commission remains a valuable resource in this area."
Representatives from a diverse group of industries and associations discussed challenges their members and the public face in addressing issues raised by the #MeToo movement. Participants also shared strategies they have implemented to improve workplace culture and reduce harassment.
Rosanna Maietta, Executive Vice President of Communications & Public Relations of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and President of the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Foundation, described the 5-Star Promise, a pledge to provide hotel employees with employee safety devices and to adopt enhanced policies, trainings and resources to improve hotel safety, including preventing and responding to sexual harassment and assault.
Andy Brantley, President and CEO of the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, shared that "we cannot simply 'train away' harassment. Training and heightening awareness will always be important, but we must be committed to creating and sustaining workplace cultures that do not tolerate harassment in any way, shape or form."
Stephanie Martz, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the National Retail Federation, explained that "retailers recognize that training and a company culture of respect and inclusion are critical to effective prevention and compliance efforts." She noted one challenge her organization and its members have identified is the importance of tailoring training to address the unique realities of the retail workplace.
Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of the National Venture Capital Association, emphasized that "harassment is interconnected with the lack of diversity and inclusiveness in our industry." As a result, his organization surveys members to understand the scope of the harassment problem in their industry, and it has taken multiple steps to improve education by drafting model policies and a best practices guide.
James Banks, Jr., General Counsel of the Society for Human Resources Management, stated that his organization is providing human resource professionals with programming on workplace civility, inclusion, workplace investigations that can improve culture, and anti-harassment strategies. Mr. Banks explained that "the #MeToo movement has been a call to action for organizational leaders to assess their workplaces to ensure they have a healthy culture and live that culture in all they do."
The following industry and association representatives participated in the Roundtable:
The written statements that were submitted are available at https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/task_force/harassment/3-20-19/.
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