Law Office of David Miklas, P.A.

Labor & Employment law - Employers only

Is the EEOC hoarding its innovative harassment training material?

Sexual harassment complaints go up for first time since #MeToo, according to new EEOC data.

In October 2018 the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced preliminary FY 2018 sexual harassment data. 

Based on preliminary data, in FY 2018:

•    The EEOC filed 66 harassment lawsuits, including 41 that included allegations of sexual harassment. That reflects more than a 50 percent increase in sexual harassment lawsuits against employers from the previous fiscal year.

•    In addition, charges filed with the EEOC alleging sexual harassment increased by more than 12 percent from fiscal year 2017.

•    The EEOC forced employers to pay nearly $70 million for sexual harassment claims through litigation and administrative enforcement in FY 2018, up from $47.5 million in FY 2017.

The EEOC announced that its lucrative training program, “Respectful Workplaces,” which teaches skills for employees and supervisors to promote and contribute to respect in the workplace, was in high demand since it was launched in October 2017.

Although my law firm has made four separate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for this training material over the past year, nothing has been provided from the EEOC.  It is unfortunate that the EEOC appears to have innovative harassment training material designed to prevent harassment, and is forcing employers to spend thousands of dollars to obtain it from the EEOC.  Our law firm believes it is important to help employers prevent harassment in the workplace.  It is confusing why this agency proudly announces in press releases how many trainings they are providing (which cost either $1325 or $1750).  If the EEOC truly desires to help employees, it would seem that increasing the trainings would be in everyone’s best interest. If an employer cannot afford the EEOC price tag, they should be able to still provide the trainings on their own, using the same material.  In the event that the EEOC ever provides this innovating training material to our law firm, we will happily share it with our clients.

I would encourage employers to email Tracy L. Smalls at the EEOC’s FOIA Programs and ask her to provide the training materials for the trainings called Respect in the Workplace and Leading for Respect.  You should request all training materials, including outlines, handouts and powerpoint slides.