Large Corporation to Pay $4M to Settle Race Discrimination Lawsuit

More than fifty-two years ago Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous “I have a dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963.  During the week of Dr. King’s birthday we are reminded that race discrimination in employment and society is extremely prevalent. Demonstrating the unfortunate perseverance of this practice is the fact that Hillshire Brands Company (formerly known as Sara Lee Corporation) has agreed to pay $4 million to settle a race discrimination lawsuit stemming from an incident involving 74 African-American employees at its Paris, Texas facility.

The lawsuit, which was prosecuted by the EEOC, alleged that African-American employees at Hillshire Brands were subjected to racist images and graffiti in the facility restrooms and locker room. Additionally, the lawsuit alleged that bakery employees were subjected to racial slurs by supervisors and other white employees over numerous complaints that were ignored by management. In addition to paying the $4 million sum, Hillshire Brands has been ordered to implement a variety of training courses and preventative actions to help ensure that race discrimination does not occur at the Paris facility again.

Conducting Race Discrimination Training
Helps Prevent Ugly Incidents

The EEOC and other fair employment practices agencies frequently order training and preventative measures punitively as part of settlement proceedings. While “better late than never” certainly helps address the issue and makes a statement, all too often the incidents that lead to high profile settlements could have been avoided by conducting training courses on employment discrimination in a proactive fashion.

In the Hillshire Brands case it was clear that the company did not have the proper procedures in place for training managers on identification of race discrimination nor did it have the proper measures in place to address complaints of racism and discrimination on its premises. In addition to being hit with a large settlement and the negative publicity that is associated with involvement in an ugly race discrimination lawsuit, many of the employees working at the facility surely were shocked to learn that they were employed at a place where racist graffiti would be allowed to remain without immediate remedy, which makes for an uncomfortable work environment.

Syntrio’s employment discrimination and harassment courses use real life scenarios and calculated hypotheticals to teach the dangers of allowing harassment and discrimination to persist at your company. By discussing real cases and developing vignettes based on reality your managers will not only learn the federal and state discrimination laws, they will see how they apply in the workplace. Indeed, our courses do not just teach the “black letter law,” they have true practical value for your managers and employees that many competing courses do not.

Syntrio is committed to helping businesses avoid the costly mistakes associated with race discrimination and harassment. We are also able to custom-tailor our courses to fit the needs of your business. Contact for more information about our employment discrimination courses for employees and management and remember to follow us on TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on compliance that impact your company!


Data Privacy: 2016’s Elephant in Your Office

Across the globe, individuals, companies, and even governments are debating what to do about customer, company and citizen data privacy. With hacking groups like “Anonymous” gaining more and more notoriety, hiding your head in the sand simply isn’t going to work anymore. As the year 2016 has come to a start, many companies and government agencies are considering how best to safeguard the personal data they are collecting.

Companies who Do Not Train Face Greater Risks than Ever

While hackers are always going to be one step ahead, those companies and agencies that choose to train their employees and managers on safe data procedures are taking proactive measures to do their best 1) to safeguard themselves from an attack; and 2) how to handle the fallout from an attack that has already happened.

You may be asking yourself why training offers greater protection than spending large amounts of money on technical protection? The answer is that knowledge is always power, and it is knowledge that allows cyber-criminals to defeat even the most tech-savvy data security systems over time (although they are of course incredibly important). This is why it is important not only to instruct your employees and managers on how the company aims to safeguard the key data from a technical standpoint, but also what to do in the event an attack occurs.

Training is a Valuable Tool in the War Against Privacy Breaches

In addition to higher encryption security measures, data privacy training teaches managers how to create effective passwords and authentication measures to help prevent breaches from occurring. Likewise, data privacy training uses non-technical language to identify those managers and employees who are at the greatest risk of exposing personal or customer information to a breach of cyber security.

By training employees on how to react to attacks (as well as prevent them from occurring) your employees will be more prepared to deal with the shocking events and public relations fallout that can occur immediately following an attack. For example, an employee who has had data privacy training will know what to say (and what not to say) when approached by a member of the media, which can be of enormous value in a stressful time for the company.

Educating Employees About At-Risk Data an Important Safety Step

Perhaps most importantly, your managers and employees need to be educated as to what information your company or agency stores that may be attractive to a hacker. For example, law firms maintain lots of personal data concerning their employees and clients, and often have private medical information that is subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) and sensitive financial data and trade secrets that hackers would love to get their hands on. The law firm was just one example, across various industries and business sectors information is stored that is valuable to cyber criminals with both micro and macro goals.

Syntrio is committed to helping businesses and government agencies avoid the costly mistakes associated with breaches of employee and customer personal information. We are also able to custom-tailor our courses to fit the needs of your business or agency. Contact for more information about our data privacy courses for employees and management and remember to follow us on Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on compliance that impact your company!

 Contact for more information about our Data Privacy courses and remember to follow us on TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on compliance issues that may impact your company!