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Civil Rights News | June 20, 2024

Stay Informed: EEOC's Updated Harassment Guidelines

By Civil Rights Directorate

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces rules against workplace harassment and discrimination, has updated its workplace harassment guidelines for the first time in 25 years, reflecting today’s modern workplace. 

These changes update the rules to protect LGBTQ+ workers and extend protections to remote work settings. The guidance includes over 70 acceptable and unacceptable conduct examples, emphasizing the importance of a safe, inclusive, and respectful workplace. 

It is important for all Coast Guard employees and supervisors to understand these updates, as all federal agencies must comply with EEOC regulations. You can access the updated guidance here: Enforcement Guidance on Harassment in the Workplace | U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ( 

Key highlights include: 

  • The guidelines affirm the prohibition of harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity, including behaviors such as outing someone without permission, using incorrect pronouns, and denying access to appropriate bathrooms. 
  • Harassment protections now explicitly extend to remote work environments and online interactions, ensuring all employees are protected regardless of their work setting. 
  • The guidelines recognize harassment that occurs based on multiple characteristics, such as race and gender, providing a more comprehensive approach to preventing discrimination. 

Coast Guard employees are encouraged to: 

  1. Familiarize yourself with the Service’s anti-discrimination and anti-harassment and equal opportunity policies and the protections they offer.
  2. If you experience or witness any form of discrimination or harassment, please report it using the Coast Guard’s established procedures:
    1. EEO/EO Complaint Process
    2. AHHI Complaint Process
  3. Establish or maintain a relationship with your local Civil Right Service Provider.  

Supervisors and leaders play a critical role in implementing these guidelines, so here are some steps to ensure compliance and promote a positive workplace culture: 

  1. Ensure all team members understand the Coast Guard’s anti-harassment policies and the importance of adhering to them.  
  2. Encourage employees to report harassment through appropriate channels. 
  3. Stay alert for any signs of harassment and take immediate action to address the behaviors, inform the Anti-Harassment Program Office or contact your local Civil Rights Service Provider. 

By staying aware of these new guidelines and understanding how to take action against harassment and discrimination, employees can ensure their workplaces are safe, inclusive, and respectful for everyone. If you have any questions or need further information, please contact your local Civil Rights Service Provider