‘Oliver the Ornament’: A Christmas Tale With Workplace Parallels

In our house we practice the “Four Gifts of Christmas Rule” - each person receives one gift they want, one gift they need, one gift they wear and one gift they read.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any suggestions for the first three gifts on the list. But I do have a great recommendation for the gift you read, and it also ties in nicely with the difficult task we have as parents trying to explain to our children what we do at work every day.

Earlier today, the US President’s wife, First Lady Melania Trump visited Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC for the time-honored tradition of reading to the patients. This year’s book was Todd M. Zimmerman’s Oliver the Ornament, a heartwarming story about a group of ornaments preparing for the Christmas season.

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering how a children’s Christmas book can draw parallels to the adult workplace but, as the story unfolds, it is easy to see the juxtaposition of what employees in workplaces experience every day:

  • Oliver is simply one of a larger group of ornaments.
    • One employee within a larger organization.
  • Oliver has always been a prized ornament; however, this year he has a broken arm, so he is not sure if he will get put up on the tree.
    • Will diversity or discrimination stop the employee from getting the promotion or receiving recognition?
  • Edsel, a fire truck ornament, bullies Oliver and encourages other ornaments to do the same. 
    • A clear example of workplace bullying and discrimination.
  • Edsel even plots to have Oliver hidden away so he won’t be put on the Christmas tree.
    • An obvious instance of office politics.

I’m not going to spoil the ending for you, but rest assured that I would not have suggested the story if it wasn’t a happy one.

Oliver the Ornament a great springboard for discussions with your children about bullying. You can use it to explain to them that when you go to work every day, you try to serve as the advocate for the ‘Olivers’ where you work to ensure that every employee has a safe place to turn when confronted with an ‘Edsel’ at your office.

Also, it might not hurt to keep a copy of Oliver the Ornament handy on your desk for a little light reading for your team should an ‘Edsel’ rears his or her head.

For more information about Oliver the Ornament, visit www.olivertheornament.com.

New California Sexual Harassment Training Law Approved by Governor Brown

On October 1, 2018 California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 1343, which amends the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) to require non-managerial employees to receive bi-annual training on the prevention of sexual harassment, gender identity issues and the prevention of abusive conduct in the workplace by January 1, 2020 (or within six months of assuming their position).

On October 1, 2018 California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 1343 

Although this sweeping change is sure to be burdensome for employers, organizations can rest somewhat easier on the grounds that the required training for non-managerial employees will only be one hour in duration (as opposed to the two hour requirement currently in place). Please take note that managers and supervisors will still be required to receive bi-annual sexual harassment training as has been the case in the past.

The new requirement is part of a series of sweeping changes to California’s FEHA 

The new requirement is part of a series of sweeping changes to California’s FEHA, that are in accord with changes that went into effect in New York and other states. The new training requirements are just one component of those laws.

In response to these changes Syntrio is well prepared to offer your employees both industry-leading sexual harassment training for California managers and a one-hour course that covers the needs of non-managerial employees. In the coming months we will be rolling out a completely refreshed California non-manager course that will truly set the standard for interactive online training in this industry.

Contact Syntrio to schedule a demonstration of our California courseware.

Syntrio invites you to contact us to schedule a demonstration of our California (and other state) courseware with one of our representatives at your earliest convenience. It is never too early to get a head start on fulfilling your requirement for California training, especially given the California legislature’s comment that those employees who receive training by January 1, 2019 will not have to re-train when at the January 2020 deadline!

Syntrio is a leader in the human resources and employment law fields (as well as ethics and compliance) and is prepared to help your company implement a compliance program aimed at reducing the potential impact of harassment, discrimination and other employment law issues your organization may face. Syntrio takes an innovative philosophy towards employment law training program design and strives to engineer engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking content.


Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our discrimination, harassment, and prevention of retaliation online courses and remember to follow us on Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on corporate compliance that impact your company.


New Delaware Sexual Harassment Law Requires Training

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On August 29, 2018 Delaware became the latest state to enact legislation requiring employers to train employees on the prevention of sexual harassment when Governor John Carney signed SB 360 into law. Like California’s AB1825, SB 360 requires larger employers (those employing over 50 employees) to provide training on the prevention of sexual harassment. This law goes into effect on January 1, 2019 and the training must be complete by January 1, 2020.

Although it seems as if every state in the country is requiring employers to train their employees on this very important topic, SB360 makes Delaware just the fifth state to mandate employers to train employees on the prevention of sexual harassment. On January 1, Delaware will join Maine, Connecticut, California and New York in a growing list of states with mandatory training legislation.

Delaware Requirements

Employers employing 50 or more employees in Delaware must meet the following requirements set forth by SB 360 elements: 

  1. Employees must be provided with interactive training on the prevention of sexual harassment.
  2. Training must be conducted for new employees within one year of the commencement of their employment. Importantly, existing employees must receive training by no later than January 1, 2020.
  3. Topics covered include the following:
    a. The illegality of sexual harassment
    b. A specific definition of sexual harassment (with examples)
    c. A description of legal remedies available to employees and the complaint process (both internally and externally)
    d. Instruction on how to contact the Delaware Department of Labor; and
    e. Instruction that retaliation is prohibited
  4. According to SB 360, new supervisors must receive additional training within one year of the commencement of their supervisory role, and that supplementary training must cover the specific responsibilities of a manager in sexual harassment prevention and the illegality of retaliation.
  5. Finally, employee and supervisor training programs must be repeated every two years.


Syntrio Response

As always, Syntrio is well ahead of the curve in its response to the new Delaware law. Indeed, we have already begun the framework of our Delaware sexual harassment prevention courses for managers and employees, and will have these courses available to customers well in advance of the date the law goes into effect. You can expect to demonstrate the new Delaware courseware sometime in the coming months. As always, keep a close eye on Syntrio’s blog for updates on news and legislation that is relevant to human resources, employment law and ethical compliance issues. We very much look forward to being your trusted source in the provision of Delaware Sexual Harassment Training.

Syntrio is a leader in the human resources and employment law fields (as well as ethics and compliance), and is prepared to help your company implement a compliance program aimed at reducing the potential impact of harassment, discrimination, wage and hour, and other employment law issues your organization may face. Syntrio takes an innovative philosophy towards employment law training program design and strives to engineer engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking content.


Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our discrimination, harassment, and prevention of retaliation online courses and remember to follow us on Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on corporate compliance that impact your company.


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

 

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New York State Sexual Harassment Law Set to Take Effect October 9, 2018

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In April 2018 New York State and New York City enacted sweeping changes to sexual harassment laws in New York. The changes were enacted in response to the #MeToo movement and came with a variety of questions for employers throughout the state.

New York State employers with 15 or more employees required to train all employees.

In a landmark change, New York became the largest state to require employers employing 15 or more persons to train all employees annually on the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace. Among the requirements of the New York State and New York City sexual harassment laws, training programs must include the following key elements: 

  • A detailed explanation of what constitutes sexual harassment at work under New York State and New York City law
  • Examples of conduct that constitutes the sexual harassment under the unique approach taken by New York City
  • Information on New York State, New York City and federal laws concerning sexual harassment and the remedies available to victims
  • Making available information about employees’ rights to adjudicate complaints of sexual harassment both administratively and judicially and the forums in which to do so
  • Contact information for New York State, New York City, and federal equal employment agencies
  • Interactivity in training

Training developed for both managers and employees

In response to the New York City sexual harassment law and New York State sexual harassment laws, Syntrio developed an industry-leading New York Sexual Harassment training course for managers and a matching New York Sexual Harassment training course for non-managerial employees. Both courses are designed to educate employees on New York State and New York City sexual harassment laws (as well as the federal law), as well as company policy prohibiting sexual harassment.

Syntrio’s New York sexual harassment training courses use engaging and entertaining hypothetical scenarios and real-life examples, as well as a narrative based interactive video storyline that provides practical guidance on not just the steps to be taken to prevent sexual harassment in New York workplaces, but also retaliation. The courses take the users through the process of filing a complaint, address bystander intervention, and provide guidance on how to recognize and address sexual harassment in the workplace if it occurs.

Syntrio cordially invites you to learn more about its New York State and New York City sexual harassment courses and to contact us or by telephone at (888-289-6670).

 

Syntrio is a leader in the human resources and employment law fields (as well as ethics and compliance), and is prepared to help your company implement a compliance program aimed at reducing the potential impact of harassment, discrimination, wage and hour, and other employment law issues your organization may face. Syntrio takes an innovative philosophy towards employment law training program design and strives to engineer engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking content.

 


Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our discrimination, harassment, and prevention of retaliation online courses and remember to follow us on Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on corporate compliance that impact your company.


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

 

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Vermont Passes New Sexual Harassment Law

In the latest example of “keeping up with the Joneses,” last week Vermont passed new legislation aimed at reducing (and publicizing) incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace. Similar to laws passed in many other states in the wake of the #MeToo movement, Vermont’s new law guarantees independent contractors, volunteers, and interns a working environment “free from harassment,” just as it does regular employees.

Changes to Settlement Agreements

Vermont no longer allows companies to prohibit individuals who have settled claims of sexual harassment with the employer from working with that organization in the future. This is a sweeping change that is unique in the country, in that it makes it easier for employees who resolve claims to return to their jobs, or work for the company where the incident occurred in the future.

Investigation Procedures Revamped

Investigation practices are also changing under the new Vermont sexual harassment law. Prior to the passage of this legislation the Vermont Attorney General did not have the specific right to visit places of employment and examine their harassment prevention practices. Beginning July 1, employers will need to watch out for representatives from the Vermont Department of Human Rights auditing practices or even ordering training sessions if they find deficiencies in organizational harassment prevention tactics.

Online Filing System Implemented for Charges of Harassment

Lastly, Vermont’s new law is making it easier for complainants to file charges of sexual harassment and discrimination by allowing charges to be filed wholly online. By eliminating physical steps to be taken, the legislature aims to streamline the process in hopes that more victims will come forward with allegations of harassment. Of course, whenever state legislatures take these steps it makes it easier for frivolous claims to also be filed, which is why educating your workforce on what harassment is (and is not) has become all the more important in the wake of the new law.

If you have employees in Vermont we encourage you to contact a member of Syntrio’s staff to learn more about training options that are available to you and your organization.

Syntrio is a leader in the human resources and employment law fields (as well as ethics and compliance) and is prepared to help your company implement a compliance program aimed at reducing the potential impact of harassment, discrimination and other employment law issues your organization may face. Syntrio takes an innovative philosophy towards employment law training program design and strives to engineer engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking content.

 


Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our discrimination, harassment, and prevention of retaliation online courses and remember to follow us on Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on corporate compliance that impact your company.


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