May 15, 2024

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Issues – New Enforcement Guidance on Workplace Harassment

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued its Enforcement Guidance on Harassment in the Workplace which sets forth the EEOC’s position on harassment that constitutes unlawful discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (“Title VII”).

            This is the EEOC’s first update to its anti-harassment guidelines since 1999.   The Guidance provides the Commission’s position regarding what constitutes protected classes and harassing conduct.

                Key Changes in the New EEOC Guidance

            Here are several key updates to what the EEOC considers covered harassment under Title VII.

      1.         Sex-based harassment includes harassment based on sexual identity and sexual orientation. 

      2.         Unlawful harassment based on pregnancy or childbirth may include issues such as lactation and decisions regarding contraception and abortion. 

      3.         Harassment based on “color,” which includes an individual’s pigmentation, complexion, or skin tone, is prohibited under Title VII.

      4.         Conduct over video meetings can contribute to a hostile work environment.

      5.         Conduct on non-work-related platforms, such as social media accounts, may contribute to creating a hostile work environment.

      6.         A hostile work environment may be established by a single incident of harassment.

      For further information or input about the new EEOC Guidance, please contact your attorney at Summers Compton Wells LLC. 

Author:  Jim Nowogrocki