New Employment Guidance Proposed on Hostile Work Practices: The Kiplinger Letter

New guidelines for employers fueled by a sharp increase in employment discrimination lawsuits in 2023.

To help you understand current employment guidance, workplace regulations, trends in the business sector and what we expect to happen in the future, our highly experienced Kiplinger Letter team will keep you abreast of the latest developments and forecasts (Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Letter or subscribe). You'll get all the latest news first by subscribing, but we will publish many (but not all) of the forecasts a few days afterward online. Here’s the latest…

Employers take note of some recent guidance proposed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee (EEOC) on subjects ranging from sexual harassment to remote work after years of mulling potential changes. 

Harassment can include denial of access to a bathroom or other facility consistent with an employee’s gender identity, as well as the use of an inconsistent name or pronouns, both responses to SCOTUS’s Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia ruling. Even virtual conduct can contribute to a hostile work environment, including racist and/or sexual comments made in chat functions and video meetings.

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Meanwhile, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) litigation activity is at its highest level in years, fueled by the change in administration and higher budget levels. The agency filed 143 employment discrimination lawsuits in fiscal year 2023, an increase of 50% from the previous fiscal year. 

The confirmation of Kalpana Kotagal as commissioner has also given the EEOC a Democratic majority for the first time under President Biden, and that will last at least until the end of this year. Expect this to continue for as long as Democrats control the panel. Look for the EEOC to keep focusing on systematic lawsuits, or those in which the discrimination involved has a broad effect on an industry, profession, company or geographic location. Industries most likely to be targeted by the EEOC include hospitality, health care, retail, construction and natural resources.

This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter.

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Matthew Housiaux
Reporter, The Kiplinger Letter
Housiaux covers the White House and state and local government for The Kiplinger Letter. Before joining Kiplinger in June 2016, he lived in Sioux Falls, SD, where he was the forum editor of Augustana University's student newspaper, the Mirror. He also contributed stories to the Borgen Project, a Seattle-based nonprofit focused on raising awareness of global poverty. He earned a B.A. in history and journalism from Augustana University.