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 www.syntrio.com 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!

 

Business Ethics Training Lacking: Cardinals Embroiled in Hacking Scandal

According to a New York Times report, the Saint Louis Cardinals (one of the most successful professional sports teams of the past fifty years) are under FBI investigation for allegedly hacking into the proprietary data of the Houston Astros, another MLB team, in an attempt to steal secret data about the Astros’ trade negotiations and player evaluations. This scandal comes on the heels of the FIFA international corruption scandal and displays the utter lack of regard for business ethics in high-level sports today.

Breaking into Network Brings to Light Data Privacy Issues

According to the Times report, the FBI investigation revealed that Cardinals officials broke into the Astros network and stole information from special databases that had been built by the team. While the information stolen may not seem to be a major security breach to the casual sports fan, in reality the scouting reports and negotiation data provided a major upper hand when left unprotected. Further, the attack calls into question the security of the personal information and data that was stored in the Astros’ network. In any event, if the allegations prove true there was a massive ethics violation that occurred on several levels.

Employees of the Cardinals the Focus of the Investigation

Not surprisingly, lower-level employees of the Cardinals organization are the subject of the investigation, and the Department of Justice is not saying whether the investigation revealed that Cardinals executives knew or instructed the attack. In either case, it is clear that the training system in place at the organizational level was lacking, as Cardinals employees were apparently allowed to hack unfettered into the private data of another team.

Perhaps most disturbing, the FBI believes that the attack was intended to disrupt the operations of a former Cardinals executive who now works for the Astros, which evidences a malicious intent on behalf of the Cardinals as a whole. Finally, the report indicates that the employees may have used a list of passwords from the former executive’s time with the Cardinals to hack into the Astros data.

Many of the Issues Involved in the Attack can be addressed by Training

Although the aforementioned story may sound like fantasy to your business, rogue employees attempting revenge on a former executive by stealing proprietary information is all too common in the private and public sectors. For this reason it is extremely important to train your managers and employees on the consequences of ethical and data breaches and how best to avoid them. Although the MLB situation is public and high-level, similar breaches on a smaller scale can lead to significant civil and criminal penalties in any industry.

Syntrio is committed to helping businesses maintain the highest standards of ethical and data privacy compliance by helping companies demonstrate their commitment to compliance with state and federal laws and business ethics standards.  Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our business ethics courses and remember to follow us on TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance issues that may impact your organization!