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News | May 28, 2024
1 minute read

DeAndre’ Harris Tells Crain’s Grand Rapids EEOC Guidance Provides ‘North Star’ for Anti-harassment Policies

As the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides new guidance on workplace harassment, DeAndre’ Harris tells Crain’s Grand Rapids Business that employers should review their policies to ensure they provide employees a clear roadmap on what constitutes unlawful workplace harassment and the steps to report it.

“The guidance could be used as a ‘north star’ of sorts when it comes to reviewing those workplace policies concerning anti-harassment,” said Harris, a partner with Warner Norcross + Judd LLP who concentrates on labor and employment law. The guidance “provides the legal landscape or provides the employer with an idea of what principles the agency will consider in making that determination on whether there’s reasonable cause to believe that employers should be held liable for harassing conduct that takes place in the workplace.” 

The EEOC’s new guidance updates and supersedes five documents issued before 1999 to take into account updated legal principles developed by the courts since that time, including a 2020 U.S. Supreme Court case that extends Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s prohibition against discrimination to employees “based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.” This guidance has come under fire, though, as 18 state attorneys general have filed a lawsuit to prevent enforcement.

“Ultimately, this is going to be an issue that the courts are going to have to work out as to whether the EEOC can issue guidance that addresses these sorts of issues that are common in the workplace and that we are definitely seeing become an emerging trend,” Harris said.

Subscribers to Crain’s Grand Rapids Business can read the full article here.