The guidance positions harassment not just as a problem of individuals behaving badly, but as a systemic issue that employers must address. It focuses heavily on identifying misconduct so severe or pervasive that it creates a hostile work environment. The EEOC says three components are necessary to support such a claim:
1. Covered bases and causation: Was the conduct based on the complainant’s legally protected status?
2. Hostile work environment threshold: Was the conduct sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment?
3. Liability: Is there a basis for holding the employer liable for the hostile work environment?
Download the guidance at www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EEOC-2016-0009. A public comment period runs until Feb. 9.