January 27, 2020

super bowl compliance

For many organizations, the Super Bowl represents an opportunity to cultivate business relationships at one of America’s premier spectator events. For HR and compliance professionals who have employees attending The Big Game, it’s also an opportunity to raise awareness of policies on business gifts, travel and entertainment, preventing sexual harassment, code of conduct and other relevant topics. 

Whether employees and managers are going to the Super Bowl or watching it at a party or public place, ensuring they are up to date on these six training topics can help your organization stay out of foul trouble before, during and after the game:

1. Business Gifts, Entertainment and Travel
Giving and receiving business gifts and entertainment can strengthen business relationships, as long as it isn’t done to unfairly influence business decisions or violate laws and internal policies. Most organizations have policies that set guidelines for giving and receiving gifts, meals, travel and entertainment (including tickets and passes to events). Employees should be clear on what business courtesies are acceptable, how to raise questions about gray areas, and what approval-request forms need to be submitted. 

2. Code of Conduct
Whether employees are on the frontline or the 50-yard line, it’s essential they are familiar with your Code of Conduct and how it applies to their interactions with colleagues, customers, partners, co-workers and others. An effective Code should clearly communicate the organization’s standards of professional behavior and explain how to comply with relevant laws, such as anti-bribery and anti-corruption regulations. For example, receiving or giving Super Bowl tickets right before contract-renewal time could be considered a bribe. 

3. Preventing Sexual Harassment
While the #MeToo movement continues to raise awareness, questions will always arise, such as what is and isn’t harassment, and if it occurs outside the workplace is it still considered harassment? The short answer is “yes.” Discrimination and harassment laws and policies apply outside of the physical workplace. And especially at events and parties where alcohol is served, employees should be aware of the increased risk of harassment and other inappropriate behavior— and the consequences for engaging in it. Importantly, if employees experience or witness an incident, they should feel comfortable coming forward and reporting it without fear of retaliation. 

4. Bystander Intervention
Many bystanders who observe harassment or other misconduct stay on the sidelines because they are reluctant to get involved or don’t know what to do. Bystander intervention training teaches employees techniques to safely intervene, either directly or indirectly. Workplace experts, including the EEOC, are championing bystander intervention training as one of the most effective ways to stop bad behavior before it rises to the level of unlawful harassment. 

5. Social Media
Sharing posts, videos and images on social media is part of the experience of going to high-profile events like the Super Bowl. However, without a social media policy that sets guidelines for acceptable online activities, HR may find itself dealing with the fallout of employees sharing inappropriate texts, images and comments that damage the organization’s reputation or disclose confidential or personal information.

6. Human Trafficking
Leading up to the Super Bowl, many employees working in travel, transportation, hotels/hospitality, security, law enforcement and other industries are receiving human trafficking awareness training to improve their ability to recognize and report signs of trafficking. While much of the short-term focus on human trafficking relates to the Super Bowl, this global crime occurs year-round. Organizations can do their part to combat this pervasive violation of human rights by implementing anti-trafficking policies and ongoing training and education.

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Traliant Insight
For organizations preparing to socialize with customers, colleagues and partners at the Super Bowl, part of the game plan should be to update employees on policies, procedures and training related to business gifts, travel and entertainment, preventing sexual harassment, code of conduct, anti-bribery/anti-corruption and social media. Taking these important steps can help safeguard against costly mistakes and ensure that everyone goes home a winner.