Sunday, May 16, 2021

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Pandemic-Related Harassment Guidance

The EEOC's updated guidance also points employers to resources and tips they can use to prevent harassment that might arise as a result of the pandemic. Among other things, the EEOC recommends that employers explicitly communicate to their employees that fear of the pandemic should not be misdirected at individuals because of their national origin, race, or other protected characteristic. The EEOC also recommends that employers advise supervisors and managers of their roles in watching for, stopping, and reporting any harassment or other discrimination. Employers can also make it clear that they will continue to immediately review any allegations of harassment or discrimination and take appropriate action. The EEOC's updated June 17, 2020 guidance stated that managers should be alert to "demeaning, derogatory, or hostile remarks directed to employees who are or are perceived to be of Chinese or other Asian national origin, including about the coronavirus or its origins." Further, all employers covered by Title VII should ensure that management understands in advance how to recognize such harassment. Employers may choose to send a reminder to the entire workforce noting Title VII's prohibitions on harassment, inviting anyone who experiences or observes harassment to report it to management, and reminding employees that harassment can result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination. 


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