In just over a two week stretch this summer, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) settled eight harassment claims and had another court ruling in its favor. Primarily involving harassment based on sex or race, the sum for these cases: $11,916,000. In addition to the settlement amounts the employers involved paid, the EEOC sent a clear message by requiring the employers to make significant changes in their policies and procedures regarding harassment and discrimination and mandatory company-wide training to create awareness and prevent problems in the future. Another interesting note is that in cases where mandatory training is included as part of a settlement agreement, the EEOC will also stipulate when the training must be conducted (usually a short timeframe) and how much the employer needs to pay for it (frequently the cost is much greater than an employer would normally pay for such training). What does this all mean? The EEOC along with the Office of Federal Contract and Compliance Programs (OFCCP) are stepping up efforts to minimize discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Although harassment awareness training is not legally required in Oregon, for all intents and purposes it should be considered as such. That seems to be the message the EEOC is trying to convey to all employers. Accordingly, now is the time to be proactive and schedule company-wide harassment training before you become one of the statistics. If you’re ready, contact Cascade and we can help.