The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has announced soon-to-be-released updates which will likely impact employers’ efforts to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. This will be the first time in more than 20 years that employers can expect to see updated sexual harassment guidelines from the EEOC.

In media interviews, acting EEOC chair Victoria Lipnic noted that “[t]he update comes up at a time of burgeoning publicity for sexual harassment and assault in the workplace, but that is ‘purely coincidental’ . . . .” Although the EEOC has been working on new guidelines since 2015, EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum acknowledged that the current climate makes the new guidance “very timely and helpful . . . .”

While neither Lipnic nor Feldblum added specific detail regarding the substance of the updated guidance, they noted that the updates incorporate public opinion and comment that the EEOC has received over the last few years. After a unanimous vote approving the updated guidance, the EEOC forwarded the guidelines to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) for approval. Once approved by the OMB, the updated guidance will be released to the public, and at that time, eLABORate will provide a detailed discussion on how the new guidance will affect employers.