New Conferences Heading Your Way in 2018

Tax reform, workplace harassment and a focus on emotional intelligence and accountability are new or returning topics to the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s business education lineup for 2018.

On the heels of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act being signed into law in late December, business owners need to know what sort of impact the new tax laws will have on their companies.

A new event, the Tax Summit: Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, will take place April 17-18 at the Indiana Chamber Conference Center in downtown Indianapolis. As the largest tax reform in U.S. history, and with a stated goal of creating a more competitive corporate tax climate, it will be beneficial for employers to understand the new tax law and how to prepare for changes in the coming years. Topics addressed include: reduction of the federal tax rate, elimination of the corporate alternative minimum tax, impacts on small businesses and much more. Early bird discounts are available until February 1!

Also new for 2018 are two seminars that have been added because of feedback from employers who are seeking an emphasis on “soft skills” in their employees. The events are:

  • Accountability Mindset, January 30, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. This seminar centers on understanding the power of your personal mindset and its impact on your leadership, an increased awareness of factors that influence your behavior, as well as transform your team’s results by instilling a culture of accountability.
  • Emotional Intelligence Impact, January 31, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Focus on your emotional intelligence and complete the EQi 2.0 Leadership assessment, which will inform you of your strengths and opportunities for growth. You’ll learn how to manage your emotional responses by identifying new approaches and impact your organization by inspiring and leading others.

A returnee this year is the Workplace Harassment Seminar on February 27 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event covers preventing, investigating and correcting workplace harassment and is ideal for human resources professionals, managers, supervisors, business owners and more.

Visit the Conferences page on our web site to see a full list of the various business education and special events we’re hosting in 2018.

Harassment Can Appear in Any Workplace

The buzz around the National Football League today is an unsettling harassment situation in the Miami Dolphins' locker room. Jason La Confora of writes on the uncomfortable details (below). Note that Richie Incognito has been suspended by the team for his alleged behavior and an investigation is ongoing. The incident came to light after Jonathan Martin left the team following what was described as an "emotional breakdown."

Among the texts that Jonathan Martin made available to his parents, and then, eventually the Dolphins and the NFL, include those in which Richie Incognito refers to Martin, who is biracial, as a "half-n*****," according to a source who was privy to the communication.

There are several instances of threats as well, the sources said, and overall disturbing exchanges, including one in which Incognito refers to defecating in Martin's mouth.

Incognito also made reference to tracking down members of Martin's family and harming them in the texts as well, according to a source.

In some instances, that kind of rhetoric might be shaken off or ignored, but, given the track record of incidents between Incognito and Martin, and how sustained it had become, Martin truly felt that Incognito might be capable of inflicting harm, and for his safety getting away from the team was in his best interests.

The NFL, apprised of the evidence, began upper-level meetings on the case this morning as it launches its investigation. People with access to some of the exchanges believe in time this situation could become a springboard for further policies and practices at the league-wide level in regards to hazing, verbal harassment and perhaps also stricter codes in terms of financial harassment and actions whereby rookies are required by veterans to pick up excessive tabs and bills as a rite of passage.

Workplace harassment is a topic that all employers need to be educated about. For your convenience, the Chamber offers the Indiana Guide to Preventing Workplace Harassment, authored by attorneys at Ogletree Deakins.

Harassment Issues Prevalant in Many Workplaces

You wouldn’t think the U.S. Library of Congress would be a hotbed of intolerance and harassment, but PR Daily reveals this unfortunate story about alleged harassment in the workplace regarding sexual orientation.

A former government employee claims he was fired for being gay after he “liked” a pro gay-and-lesbian Facebook page.

According to Roll Call, former Library of Congress employee Peter TerVeer told the organization’s Equal Employment Opportunity Complaints (EEOC) office that he had a good relationship with his ex-supervisor, John Mech. But when TerVeer “liked” the Two Dads page on Facebook, which promotes awareness of the gay and lesbian community, things allegedly got weird:

“Shortly after, TerVeer said, he started to receive emails from Mech that contained ‘religiously motivated harassment and discrimination.’ Mech then called him into a meeting for the purposes of ‘educating him on hell and that it awaited him for being a homosexual.’”

The harassment grew so bad that TerVeer’s doctor advised him to go on extended medical leave, Roll Call reports. He was later fired for missing 37 consecutive days of work.

The EEOC office has 180 days to review the case. If no action is taken, the next step, according to TerVeer’s lawyer, is legal action. A Library of Congress rep declined to comment to Roll Call.

To ensure your company has the most up-to-date harassment knowledge, consider our new edition of the Indiana Guide to Preventing Workplace Harassment. Authored by attorneys from Ogletree Deakins, this guide is set to ship in mid-May.

Love Contracts: Perhaps A Lovely Idea for Any Office

If you’ve watched "The Office," you know how workplace romance can complicate things. Who amongst us hasn’t seen that same old story in our own office: a guy is engaged to a coworker, while a temp/former corporate executive dates his cube neighbor/ex-girlfriend, and then another guy is engaged to another girl, but she also makes out with the annoying guy in the office who owns a beet farm and has a cousin named Mose who runs without using his arms. It’s almost trite.

But what are the legal ramifications and what can employers do about it? Apparently, love contracts are now an option. Inside INdiana Business has the scoop:

A partner at Bose McKinney & Evans is recommending companies consider "love contracts" to protect their businesses and employees from the troubles that can come out of an office romance. Dave Swider says often employers don’t feel comfortable governing employee relationships, so these documents set the parameters for workplace romance. Employees who have or are about to enter a relationship would sign documents acknowledging it is consensual, along with ground rules for office behavior and sexual harassment policies. Swider says the contracts also protect employers by stating they will not retaliate nor discriminate if the relationship goes south.

And if you’re an HR specialist, or just someone who’s so attractive that you can’t keep coworkers from hitting on you, you might find useful related information in the Indiana Chamber’s Indiana Guide to Preventing Workplace Harassment, authored by attorneys at Ogletree Deakins. We also have a Harassment Kit available, as well. I guarantee you’ll love this information — but not too much or you’ll have to sign a contract.