What to do When Poor Workplace Culture Emanates from the Top

Horrible bosses

One of the headlines dominating recent news is the revelation of numerous allegations of sexual abuse against Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

As the stories continue to roll out about the ever-widening scandal, the picture is becoming clearer: many people knew about the disastrous workplace culture at Weinstein’s company and its impact not just on employees, but on others throughout the industry.

Aside from what Weinstein is accused of doing in private, there are plenty of stories of how he treated people publicly. He’s not the first, of course, to be noted as a notorious boss (a quick Google search offers a list of names that fit that description). Hollywood itself has taken on the topic through movie examples: 9 to 5, The Devil Wears Prada and aptly named Horrible Bosses (and its sequel) – and the fantasies of getting back at those bad bosses.

While everyday employees aren’t about to kidnap their boss and teach them a lesson in humility, as the fed-up employees did in 9 to 5, what can companies and employees do when the boss is the problem?

Michelle Kavanaugh, Indiana Chamber director of human resources, offers a few insights on this topic. First, companies should have a very strong harassment policy in place and a clearly structured reporting system, she offers.

“Some companies have anonymous call lines, which work better for larger organizations to keep callers truly anonymous,” she says.

Other steps to take include: having a zero-tolerance harassment policy, working with company leaders on the issues so that the culture is set at the top and making sure enforcement happens from the top down. Another protection is working with legal counsel to come up with an action plan before something happens.

And for employees who are dealing with harassment, the first step to take is to directly point out the behavior as inappropriate and request that the behavior stop.

“Use consideration, state your position and make your request,” Kavanaugh notes. “There is probably an intimidation factor. You have to work through that and state your concerns. Using ‘I’ statements are also psychologically a good way to approach the subject.

“If the behavior continues, and it is the business owner or person at the top, find someone else within your organization that you trust and hopefully the organization has a policy in place to deal with the behavior.”

If that doesn’t help, finding a confidant outside your workplace to assist you is another avenue. Should more extreme measures become necessary, avenues to consider include retaining legal help or filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Department of Labor.

“This is just scratching the surface of this subject. Employers working closely with good legal counsel can protect the company and employees and help instill a culture where toxic environments and abuse are not the norm,” Kavanaugh adds.

We also offer the Indiana Guide to Preventing Workplace Harassmentnow in its fourth edition. Written by a team of experts from Indiana-based law firm Ogletree Deakins, the guide is a simple and comprehensive manual covering topics employers need to know to identify, deal with and prevent workplace harassment and discrimination.

Adding Up the 2010 Gaming Numbers

Indiana’s riverboats experienced slight admissions (0.4%) and revenue (1.27%) declines in 2010, according to a recently release report from RubinBrown, a St. Louis-based accounting and business consulting firm that specializes in the hospitality and gaming industry.

The company’s 52-page (the Indiana specifics are on Pages 22-25) Gaming Stats report takes an in-depth look at commerical casinos in five states — Missouri, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. It also examines tribal gaming in five states.

A few of the highlights:

  • In Indiana, Horseshoe in Hammond accounts for more than 23% of both admissions and statewide revenue. Next in both categories is Hollywood in Lawrenceburg — with 14% of admissions and 18% of revenues.
  • Missouri continues to lead in casino revenue growth, bringing in over $1.7 billion in revenue and more than $450 million in commercial gaming tax revenue in 2010.
  • Colorado, the only other state to see an increase in adjusted gross revenue, experienced an increase of $25 million during 2010 and generated more than $107 million in commercial gaming tax revenue. The passage of Amendment 50 by Colorado voters in 2009, which allowed the maximum bet at casinos to be raised from $5 to $100 and permitted properties to remain open 24 hours a day, can be attributed as one of the main causes for Colorado’s revenue increase in 2010.
  • Although AGR and admissions declined in 2010, 1.59 and 3.59 percent respectively, Iowa-based casinos saw patrons spending more per trip on average from the previous year.
  • Illinois, again, experienced the most marked drop in revenues among Midwestern states, with a statewide decrease of 4 percent for commercial gaming revenues. Also significant, Illinois riverboat gaming fell to its lowest levels in a decade and horse racing and lotteries remained flat. However, these revenues, according to Adams, may stabilize in late 2011 due to the opening of the Rivers Casino near Chicago’s O’Hare airport. The new facility is expected to generate $150 million in annual tax revenue and create over 1,000 permanent jobs in the Chicago area.
     

Ohio Casinos Will Diminish Indiana Winnings

The fifth time was the charm for supporters of gaming in Ohio. Voters had rejected the approval of casinos in Ohio four times over the last couple decades, but apparently the Buckeye State’s fiscal concerns trumped the opposition as the referendum to allow land-based gambling operations in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo was approved with 53% of the vote in November’s election. Gaming in Ohio will certainly help that state with its revenue problems, but will just as certainly make Indiana’s fiscal picture worse by cutting into our gaming tax revenues.

Indiana currently receives about $250 million dollars a year from three riverboats that are within a short drive of Cincinnati. It is estimated that up to 38% of the riverboat patrons come from out of state. The Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg and Grand Victoria Casino & Resort in Rising Sun are just minutes from Cincinnati and could both be seriously impacted by a casino there. The Belterra Casino Resort & Spa in Vevay is a little further down the Ohio River, but likely would also feel the effects.

Additionally, the other casinos could draw away some of the traffic at the already greatly suffering Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Anderson. All told, Indiana gaming tax revenues could drop by as much as $100 million. These likely future losses to Indiana follow the losses now being experienced at the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City due to the opening of a new tribal casino last year just across the border in Michigan. In addition, Kentucky could well be the next state to siphon off revenues as the pressure mounts to allow slots at its horse tracks.

Bottom line: As more players enter the game, Indiana’s share of the winnings is sure to diminish.

Hoosierland in Hollywood

Following the attention gained from the summer hit "Public Enemies" and classics such as "Hoosiers" and "A Christmas Story," it seems the Hoosier state may once again serve as an appropriate setting for a film. No details as yet, but if you have — or know of — a useful site, you might contact the state:

Film Indiana and Hickory Pictures will be conducting a statewide search for isolated, undisturbed, privately owned or public lands possessing an early frontier atmosphere to be considered for locations in an upcoming Hollywood family movie to be filmed in Indiana.

Hickory Pictures is particularly interested in properties possessing the following qualities:

Vast and heavily timbered old growth forests containing hardwoods, especially Oakwood, Dogwoods, Hickory, Elm and Maple trees, spacious prairies and meadows with tall grasses and un-manicured topography, lands containing a small creek, an area possessing deep ravines, hollows and caves, under a canopy of trees, access to a large river, such as the Ohio River, where the nature of the riverbanks has been virtually uninterrupted. Other enchanting locations appropriate for the time period interested participants should submit pictures of their property, a description and contact information to Erin Newell of Film Indiana ([email protected]) or to the following address:

Attn: Erin Newell
Film Indiana/IEDC
One North Capitol Ave., Suite 700
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204

While details of the project and its filmmakers are being kept confidential during the development process, Erin Newell, director of Film Indiana, said, "We are excited to be working with these highly regarded filmmakers and feel this project is an incredible opportunity for Indiana to show all that we have to offer the film industry and all that it can do for our state."

NOTE: Speaking of the Hoosier/Hollywood connection, my girlfriend and I saw Indiana actor Vincent Ventresca at Steak ‘n Shake on Keystone Ave. in Indianapolis a few weeks ago. (He’s probably best known to many as "Fun Bobby" from TV’s "Friends.") Exciting stuff.

Argosy Going Hollywood, Adding Jobs in Process

The Argosy in Lawrenceburg is about to get an overhaul and, unlike many business-related overhauls over the past year, this one will actually create jobs.

Cincinnati’s Business Courier explains:

When Penn National Gaming this summer opens its $326 million expansion at Lawrenceburg, it will be celebrated for the 125 contractors it employed during construction.

And the 250 new employees now being hired to operate the Hollywood-themed attraction.

And the glitzy trappings of the Vegas-scale gaming parlor, with its 300 plasma screens and 60-foot video board.

And the fancy décor, with its indoor replicas of the Hollywood Bowl, a city park and an urban streetscape.

But few will recognize the new Lawrence­burg casino for what it really is: an act of self-defense.

“This will expand our boundaries,” said Tony Rodio, general manager of the Penn National property on the Lawrenceburg riverfront, which will change its name from Argosy to Hollywood upon its opening in mid-July.

During a recent tour of the nearly finished casino, Rodio said the 270,000-square-foot expansion and its Hollywood rebranding will be part of a larger attempt by Wyomissing, Pa.-based Penn National to lay down roots in Cincinnati. Rodio wants to reclaim customers lost to two new horse-track casinos in Indianapolis and prevent encroachment by developers who have staked claims to potential casino sites from Louisville to Wilmington…

The casino will have 800 more slots, two dozen more poker tables and a VIP lounge that can host up to 110 people for dinners and private parties. Its 60-by-8-foot serpentine video screen will play movie trailers, promotional messages and memorable movie scenes on a 24-7 scrolling loop.

California Counties Not Feeling So Golden About Sacramento

Like all states, Indiana has had its own internal debate recently, namely in dealing with the elimination of township governments. So we’re certainly not being sanctimonious here, but it seems California may be dealing with even more contention these days. In addition to its ongoing budgetary woes, its counties may be plotting a revolt in Sacramento. To put their anger into Hollywood context, pretend the counties are Christian Bale and the state government is a distracting cinematographer:

Counties in California say they’ve had enough – and they aren’t going to take it anymore.

In what amounts to a Boston Tea Party-style revolt against the state Capitol, they’re threatening to withhold money.

Los Angeles is considering such an option. And Colusa County supervisors said they authorized payment delays for February.

"We didn’t vote on it, because I don’t think anybody wants to go to jail," Colusa County Supervisor Kim Vann said. Continue reading

Treat Your People Right: Many Californians Looking to Bail

It’s hard not to be jealous of California. Its residents don’t have to deal with black ice in January. There are palm trees. And it’s the place where "Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper" was filmed and enjoyed six magical seasons.

But an article on Yahoo! News today, and featured on the Drudge Report, illustrates what happens when people finally become tired of inadequate government:

Mike Reilly spent his lifetime chasing the California dream. This year he’s going to look for it in Colorado.

With a house purchase near Denver in the works, the 38-year-old engineering contractor plans to move his family 1,200 miles away from his home state’s lemon groves, sunshine and beaches. For him, years of rising taxes, dead-end schools, unchecked illegal immigration and clogged traffic have robbed the Golden State of its allure.

Is there something left of the California dream?

"If you are a Hollywood actor," Reilly says, "but not for us."

Since the days of the Gold Rush, California has represented the Promised Land, an image celebrated in the songs of the Beach Boys and embodied by Silicon Valley’s instant millionaires and the young men and women who achieve stardom in Hollywood.

But for many California families last year, tomorrow started somewhere else.

The number of people leaving California for another state outstripped the number moving in from another state during the year ending on July 1, 2008. California lost a net total of 144,000 people during that period — more than any other state, according to census estimates. That is about equal to the population of Syracuse, N.Y.

The state with the next-highest net loss through migration between states was New York, which lost just over 126,000 residents.