EEOC Issues Recommendations to Combat Harassment in Construction

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released “Promising Practices for Preventing Harassment in the Construction Industry,” a document that highlights recommendations that the EEOC would like industry leaders to consider to combat harassment in construction.

AGC has testified in front of the EEOC on the issue and convened association staff and member subject-matter experts in meetings with the agency to help the EEOC understand the particularities of the industry and the substantial efforts contractors are taking to prevent and address harassment. Much of this input hopefully was considered by the EEOC in the development of this guidance and will be considered in its enforcement efforts.

The new EEOC document is intended to support the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for fiscal years 2024-2028, which, in part, focuses on combatting systemic harassment, and eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, including for groups that the EEOC considers underrepresented in industries like construction.

The document identifies core practices intended to help prevent and address harassment in the construction industry:

  • Committed and engaged leadership;
  • Consistent and demonstrated accountability;
  • Strong and comprehensive harassment policies;
  • Trusted and accessible complaint procedures; and
  • Regular, interactive training tailored to the audience and the organization.

The document identifies the importance of committed leadership as a solution to workplace harassment. One recommended practice for project owners, including local and state governments, is to require plans to address harassment in contract bids.

Because construction worksites can have workers employed by multiple entities, another example of a promising practice is for general contractors to provide an anonymous hotline to receive complaints for all onsite workers, in addition to confirming that every subcontractor has implemented its own complaint channel.

The promising practices document follows a 2023 report issued by EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows, Building For the Future: Advancing Equal Employment in the Construction Industry,” that examined discrimination based on race, national origin, and sex in the industry through the lens of EEOC cases, witness testimony from a 2022 EEOC hearing, and research. The report, which contains findings and offers next steps, identified a number of barriers that EEOC believes lead to underrepresentation of women, people of color, and other groups in the construction industry.

For more information, contact Claiborne Guy at or 703-837-5382.

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