Workplace Compliance About More than Just Following the Rules

Companies pay their lawyers a lot of money to draft policies prohibiting harassment, discrimination, and other illegal workplace activities and create codes governing workplace conduct. These practices are obviously essential to legal and ethical compliance, but those companies and organizations that are truly at the forefront of maintaining a positive corporate culture and avoiding litigation and negative press are doing more. Indeed, those companies are launching full-scale compliance training programs and are providing an opportunity for their employees to report incidents of suspected unethical or illegal acts anonymously.

Policies and Rules Insufficient to Maintaining a Positive Corporate Culture

While a policy or code of conduct can provide managers and other employees a path to avoid wrongdoing, those documents are often filled with blanket statements like “[t]his company has a strong policy against illegal discrimination of any kind” or “[e]mployees are encouraged to report all incidents of misconduct immediately.” This is a good start, but many managers and employees do not come into their jobs with knowledge on the nuances of discrimination and harassment laws. Further, a policy encouraging reporting of incidents may have been in place long before a manager or employee witnessing an unethical or illegal act may have started his or her job.

Creating an ethical and legally compliant workforce is often a majority response when executives are surveyed on what changes or maintenance they would like to see within their workforce. However, simply creating the rules is not enough. In order to create a true culture of integrity and management within the law it is important to train supervisors and employees on the nuances of ethical dilemmas and tricky legal situations that undoubtedly will come up within their career. It is also insufficient to conduct these training sessions just once.

Syntrio’s Services Foster a Culture of Compliance

Syntrio has developed a vast Learning Management System filled with online ethics and compliance training courses on virtually all topics relevant to management and workplace legal compliance. Clients are able to license as much or as little of Syntrio’s content as they wish, and Syntrio is even able to customize courses to suit the needs of a particular company, campus, or government agency. Additionally, Syntrio has remained at the forefront of the industry by partnering with Lighthouse Services to soon release an Anonymous Hotline Service, which will provide employees the opportunity to report incidents of misconduct anonymously, without any fear of repercussion from the company.

All of the above contributes to a “speak-up” culture within the corporate environment that provides employees with a workplace where they are educated and informed enough to make the “right” [ethical and legal] decisions but know they can report incidents they witness without worrying about retaliation from the company. Indeed, the sum is more than its parts. It is proven that educating employees and providing a forum to report incidents will lessen the likelihood of litigation. It is also likely that such an environment will lead to happier employees overall.

Syntrio is committed to helping businesses avoid the costly mistakes associated with ethics and employment law violations. We are also able to custom-tailor our courses to fit the needs of your business. Contact for more information about our ethics and compliance 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! Finally, stay tuned for more information about the release of our Anonymous Hotline Service!

Contact Syntrio for more information about our prevention of disability discrimination in the workplace courses for management and remember to follow us on Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on compliance issues that may impact your business!


California Updates Anti-Discrimination Regulations for 2016

California Updates Anti-Discrimination Regulations


California has long been known as the most employee-friendly state when it comes to employment laws and regulations. Indeed, California’s bi-annual sex harassment training law and its anti-discrimination laws are some of the most complex in the entire nation. California has revised its Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) regulations to include a host of new rules, all of which are in an effort to keep up with statutory changes in the past several years. Many of the changes modify existing requirements, but there are important new twists. The new rules go into effect on April 1, 2016.

The following paragraphs are a summary of the new rules. All employers with 5 or more employees should study the rules themselves to ensure effective implementation.

Among the provisions of the rules include the following:

  • The new regulations provide precise definitions of the following terms: gender expression, gender identity, sex stereotype, and transgender.

  • California has a new requirement that employers have a delineated policy to combat discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
  • Companies must disseminate that policy to the entire workforce.
  • The regulations extend national-origin protections to undocumented immigrants who hold special “AB 60” drivers’ licenses.

The new regulations also provide guidance on what must be contained in the required policies targeted at preventing discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Specifically, the regulations state that the policy should:

  • State that the employer will not take remedial action if any wrongdoing is detected.

  • State that the employer will not retaliate against an employee for making a complaint or participating in an investigation.
  • Instruct supervisors to report all complaints to a company representative.
  • List all protected groups under the Fair Employment & Housing Act.
  • Specify that supervisors, co-workers and third parties are prohibited from engaging in unlawful behavior under the FEHA.
  • Explain the reporting procedure under the policy.
  • State that all complaints will be followed by a fair and thorough investigation.

In addition to posting these new requirements in a public area at the workplace, an effective means of conveying these rules is implementing an online anti-discrimination training program that explains the policies and procedures in-depth so that your employees understand their obligations under the law. The FEHA is a complicated law that provides many protections to employees that are not available under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In addition to the mandatory California sex harassment training requirement that many companies in the state are required to follow, it is important for companies of all sizes to engage in active training programs to not only aid in compliance with these new regulations but to improve company culture as a whole.

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