The EEOC, which enforces federal discrimination laws and investigates complaints, also announced the launch of its ‘Youth@Work’ program.
In a press release , the commission stated that it has a three-pronged plan to educate younger workers on their rights:
- The Web site, http://youth.eeoc.gov , offers information and education regarding what does and does not constitute harassment.
- A national outreach program will attempt to reach the grassroots level by going to high schools around the country and promoting harassment awareness.
- The EEOC will also host forums and roundtables with business leaders, industry trade associations, and human resource groups to further explore the topic of teenage harassment on the job.
In general, the EEOC has noticed a surge in sexual harassment claims in recent years, commission spokesman David Grinberg said, according to the Associated Press. Before 2002 there was only “a handful’ of such claims among teenagers, there have been a total of 40 since. Most of these claims are coming from industries which employ many young workers and where turnover is high, such as restaurants, retailers, hotels and movie theaters.
Experts believe that the rise in claims can be attributed to there being more teenagers in the workplace, as well as an increased willingness to deal with the problem, according to the AP. Additionally, many managers who are the subject of such claims may be young themselves and are not properly educated on workplace conduct, according to the report.