Protecting Employers Since 1985

EEOC Issues Controversial Final Enforcement Guidance On Workplace Harassment

On Monday this week the EEOC raised eyebrows when it published its long-awaited final take on harassment law. The guidance is aimed at educating employers and employees alike, but will no doubt be used by plaintiff and defense lawyers in court. Consequently, employers, HR professionals, and consultants are well advised to become aware of what the EEOC has to say about workplace harassment. Our take is that the guidelines aim to greatly expand the scope and number of harassment claims. Here are just some of the positions enunciated in the new guidance:

  • Details on unlawful harassment in the remote work environment.
  • Defining unlawful harassment to include failure to use a person’s preferred pronoun, if done intentionally and repeated.
  • Defining unlawful sex-based harassment to include denying access to a bathroom consistent with an individual’s gender identity.
  • Non-consensual distribution of real or computer-generated intimate images (such as through social media, messaging applications, or other electronic means) can contribute to a hostile work environment.
  • Expectations for effective anti-harassment policies and training.

There are many provisions in the EEOC’s final guidance that are expected to impact employer/employee relations – and litigation – for many years to come. This short article is included in our Client Alert on short notice, but we intend to follow up with much more information and advice for our readers. In the meantime, for those ambitious enough to read these new provisions while, as the saying goes, the ink is drying, here is a link:

Questions? Contact James Sherman by email or at (952)746-1700

COVID-19 Resources

Stay up-to-date about developments in the Midwest


Contact us at any of our four Midwest locations

Schedule your confidential consultation

Contact Wessels Sherman if you would like to speak with one of our experienced labor and workplace attorneys, contact any of our four office locations and schedule a consultation.