Trouble Brewing for Corporate Compliance

Trouble Brewing for Corporate Compliance

The United States Supreme Court has many important issues to decide in its upcoming term. Perhaps no case is more important to corporate compliance than Digital Reality Trust v. Somers, the landmark whistleblower case that will decide whether employees must actually report alleged violations to a government agency vs. just to their corporate compliance department in order to receive protection under the Dodd-Frank Act.

Should the Supreme Court decide that employees must report violations directly to a government agency then the burgeoning profession of “corporate compliance” could be virtually crippled. Indeed, in that scenario, federal and state governments would become the de facto “compliance” departments for companies both private and public.

The result of such a decision by the Supreme Court would have a seemingly catastrophic effect on companies and their employees, in that a great many more employees would be punished and/or retaliated against for trying to do the right thing. It would also leave in question anti-retaliation provisions in those states that do not have separate statutes for reporting of violations that turn out to be incorrect.


Learn more about Syntrio's online compliance courseware.


It is well-proven that employees who fear retaliation do not blow the whistle. In the event they can suddenly be punished for doing so the only ethical thing to do is for companies to institute stringent anti-retaliation policies and train their managers and employees on not just the policies themselves, but also what to do in the event a violation is suspected and set precedent for how companies will independently handle reported violations in a positive manner.

While the odds of the Supreme Court deciding that whistleblowers must report violations to a government agency seem low, the federal government has always seemingly been at odds with the corporate compliance profession, and would like nothing more than to claw back some of the current philosophies and duties into its own pre-determined methods of compliance that were developed in the legal realm.

It is always a good idea to implement careful training programs for managers who craft policies that are impacted by changes in federal law and important Supreme Court decisions. As part of its suite of corporate compliance courseware, Syntrio provides online courses covering whistleblowing, anti-retaliation, and a variety of other topics critical to managing your business within the complicated laws governing the United States and its territories. We invite you to contact us at your convenience to learn more!


Syntrio is a leader in both the ethics and compliance field, as well as human resources and employment law, and is prepared to help your company implement a compliance program aimed at reducing the potential impact of compliance violations within the organization. Syntrio takes an innovative philosophy towards compliance program design and strives to engineer engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking content. Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our ethics and code of conduct online courses and remember to follow us on Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance that impact your company!

Written by, Jon Gonzalez, Esq., Chief Counsel for Syntrio

 

Check out Richard Bistrong’s Interview with Nicole Rose

Moving Back In-House to Move Compliance to the Next Generation

Read Richard Bistrong's informative interview of Nicole Rose:  "Moving Back In-House to Move Compliance to the Next Generation"

Nicole shares her insights on a "network" approach to compliance in organizations.  As always, the article is laden with great recommendations for organizations to use in their compliance programs.


Syntrio is a leader in both the ethics and compliance field, as well as human resources and employment law, and is prepared to help your company implement a compliance program aimed at reducing the potential impact of compliance violations within the organization. Syntrio takes an innovative philosophy towards compliance program design and strives to engineer engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking content. Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our ethics and code of conduct online courses and remember to follow us on Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance that impact your company!

 

The Search Google Didn’t Want to See: Gender-Based Pay Disparity

The Search Google Didn’t Want to See: Gender-Based Pay Disparity

On the heels of an exciting set of new product launches from Apple this week, Silicon Valley is reeling again with alleged gender-related discrimination issues.  This time its Google and the suit is being pursued by three former Googlers, Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease, and Kelli Wisuri who claim that women at Google are underpaid compared to men and are often denied promotions.  They are also want to make this a class action suit representing all women who have worked at Google in the last four years.

“Google has discriminated and continues to discriminate against its female employees by systematically paying them lower compensation than Google pays to male employees performing substantially similar work under similar working conditions,” the lawsuit claims.

All three women claim they were paid less and started and were hired at lower-level job tiers than their male counterparts.   Google emphatically denies the plaintiff’s assertions, but this isn’t the first run in with these complaints for the tech giant.  The Department of Labor is investigating Google for similar claims and in a recent NY Times article,  “At Google, Employee-Led Effort Finds Men Are Paid More than Men,” a survey of 1,200 employees reflected discrepancies in pay between the sexes. 

The women and their attorney believe that part of the alleged pay disparity comes from the tiered pay system used by Google.  Googlers in higher tiers get higher pay and have access to bigger bonuses.  James Finberg, an attorney representing the trio, believes there is enough “statistical evidence” to support a class action suit for all women who have worked at Google in the last four year.


Learn more about Syntrio's Employment Discrimination Courses


Stories like this abound in the high-tech industry and it is part of the reason you are seeing dramatic changes being enacted, with law changes, in places like New York City (and up to 20 states), making it illegal to ask about a job candidates salary history.  The law is effective October 1, 2017 and not only includes asking the question verbally but also through electronic job applications.  Some organizations managing job boards and applicant sites are removing that question from their applications, just to be safe. 

At this point, the claims from the three former Googlers are allegations.  If these are discovered to be true and, if a class action suit is filed and ultimately won, it would have huge ramifications for hiring and pay practices in the high-tech industry.  Only time will tell how this pans out.


 Do you have questions about your current anti-harassment, anti-discrimination or code of conduct training program? Contact us and we can work with you to make recommendations to augment and/or improve your current offering.

Syntrio is a leader in both the ethics and compliance field, as well as human resources and employment law, and is prepared to help your company implement a compliance program aimed at reducing the potential impact of compliance violations within the organization. Syntrio takes an innovative philosophy towards compliance program design and strives to engineer engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking content. Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our ethics and code of conduct online courses and remember to follow us on Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance that impact your company!

Written by, Darin Hartley, Director of Marketing for Syntrio

 

When it Comes to Transgender Harassment, Amazon Delivers

When it Comes to Transgender Harassment, Amazon Delivers

Continuing a string of technology company discrimination lawsuits, a transgender woman and her husband have sued Amazon for workplace harassment. The lawsuit alleges that the couple was subject to threats and severe harassment when they worked for Amazon in 2015.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Kentucky, the woman was subjected to catcalls and taunts of “shemale” and “cross-dresser” from colleagues. The lawsuit also alleges the woman’s husband was subjected to derogatory comments about his sex life due to his association with a transgender woman.


Learn more about Syntrio's Diversity and Respect courses.


The couple allegedly made several complaints to supervisors about the harassment, and claims both members feared for their lives after a colleague inflicted intentional damage to their vehicle when the brake lines were cut on Amazon’s property.

It is important to note that while Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity, the EEOC interprets Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of “sex” to include sex based stereotypes and gender identity. Likewise, several federal courts have held that discrimination of transgender employees violates federal anti-discrimination laws and many states have specifically incorporated transgender status into the umbrella of protected classes protected from discrimination under state anti-discrimination law.

In short, discrimination of any kind is unacceptable in the year 2017, and discrimination against transgender employees is particularly problematic given the emerging legal protections against this despicable form of workplace discrimination.

It is always a good idea to implement careful training programs for managers who craft policies that are impacted by federal and state laws. As part of its suite of employment law and human resources courseware, Syntrio provides online courses covering interviewing and hiring, employment discrimination training, and a variety of other topics critical to managing your business within the complicated laws governing employment in the United States and its territories. We invite you to contact us at your convenience to learn more!


 Do you have questions about your current anti-harassment, anti-discrimination or code of conduct training program? Contact us and we can work with you to make recommendations to augment and/or improve your current offering.

Syntrio is a leader in both the ethics and compliance field, as well as human resources and employment law, and is prepared to help your company implement a compliance program aimed at reducing the potential impact of compliance violations within the organization. Syntrio takes an innovative philosophy towards compliance program design and strives to engineer engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking content. Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our ethics and code of conduct online courses and remember to follow us on Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance that impact your company!

Written by, Jon Gonzalez, Esq., Chief Counsel for Syntrio