VIIAA is the home of the Title VII Plan.
What’s a Title VII Plan, you ask? Click here if interested in VIIAA’s Title VII Plans
It’s the solution you are looking for. It’s VIIAA’s major innovation for the field, and you can only get it from your association. Law firms have written your policies and procedures. You’ve had trainings. You’ve hired more skilled personnel.
And still, #MeToo, harassment, and discrimination issues continue to persist.
You’ve addressed the issues piecemeal, but no one has yet brought workplaces a comprehensive approach to prevention, intervention, and remediation. Until now. VIIAA’s Title VII plan is everything you need, in one software package, to address Title VII issues comprehensively, proactively, and reactively, with year-round action and implementation plan. You don’t need multiple sources of guidance or expensive law firms. The next evolution of compliance is all right here.
Like an affirmative action plan, a Title VII plan is a global solution that takes disparate elements of effective approaches and blends them into an integrated and holistic solution that is much more powerful than the sum of its parts.
Are you legally required to have a Title VII Plan? If you’re a public employer, this may fall within regulatory mandates. We’re not your lawyers, but the VIIAA Title VII Plan has been devised by civil rights and anti-discrimination attorneys to empower your organization with the best defense (Faragher-Ellerth) to a Title VII claim. That makes the Title VII Plan a powerful tool.
Thanks to advances in software capabilities, VIIAA has created a robust platform that creates custom-tailored plans for VIIAA’s members. Based on a brief online question and answer dialogue with each employer, our software customizes VIIAA’s Title VII Plan template to your workplace and assesses the following factors to create a robust and in-depth plan.
- Industry, size, locations, demographics, and dynamics of your organization
- Best practices gleaned from practitioners’ years of experience
- Ongoing de-identified data submitted by you about your organization
- Federal laws and regulations
- State laws and regulations
Is a plan just a fancy term for more policies and procedures? No. Tackling #MeToo and workplace discrimination requires more tools in the toolbox, and the Title VII Plan includes elements of all the facets of the 7P Risk Management Framework™, giving you tools that address:
Title VII compliance needs to live somewhere. One of the lessons of what worked to help address sexual misconduct and discrimination in the education space was the innovation of the Title IX Coordinator role, which finds a parallel in VIIAA’s innovation of the workplace Title VII Administrator. Until someone owns the task, the task is always diffused and de-centralized. The VIIAA Title VII Plan helps you to assess what people you need to have in place, what positions they need to occupy, and with what responsibilities they must be charged, to ensure a comprehensive commitment to compliance.
Policies are both reactive tools to be taught, and retrospective tools used after the fact to determine if an organizational norm has been violated. They need to be clear, cogent, and comprehensive. VIIAA’s model policies are modified by the Title VII Plan software based on the Q&A dialogue tool to ensure that your policies meet the letter and the spirit of the law. VIIAA updates your Title VII Plan annually, to take account of new statutes and court decisions in your jurisdiction. Of course, the software can create custom Plans compliant in every jurisdiction in which your organization has offices or does business. And, we’ll do it for a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay your lawyers, in a fraction of the time.
Policies are a part of the puzzle of a comprehensive Title VII Plan, but well-constructed procedures are also essential. The procedures help our Title VII personnel to know what to do when, and VIIAA has spelled out procedures for most eventualities in our integrated Title VII Plan software. Are you an at-will employer? Our software will adjust the procedures accordingly. Or, maybe you have contractual employees? The software will include contracted-for procedural protections as appropriate. Maybe some of your employees are at-will, and others have property interests? The software can create bifurcated procedures for each, or if you want every employee treated the same way, the software can do that, too. Maybe you’re a union shop, and the terms of a Collective Bargaining Agreement help to define the procedures that apply? Our software will include them. Or, if you’re a public employer and you need to provide due process, our software will generate a procedure that meets the notice and hearing requirements of every jurisdiction in which you operate. Our procedures are detailed without being laborious, and they’re designed to withstand the scrutiny of the courts, if challenged for fairness.
While a lot of time and money is spent on formal policies and procedures, most of the art of risk management and litigation mitigation comes from informal approaches, which are comprised of our protocols. Protocols tell Title VII officials what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. The Title VII Plan tool offers you protocols for intake, preliminary inquiry, determining jurisdiction, offering initial remedies, assessing the effectiveness of remedial efforts, investigation, resolution/hearing/decision, and even appeals, if needed. It offers protocols for crisis management, internal communication, collaboration across departments, implements training and protocols for the dosage and delivery of prevention content. All protocols specify their own record keeping and retention requirements.
Policies, procedures, and protocols – no matter how good – can’t cover every eventuality. Our everyday practices fill in the gaps where our documents leave off. Those practices need to resonate with and support our overall strategy to address sexual misconduct, harassment, and discrimination. Those everyday practices can make all the difference, and your custom Title VII Plan will help to make those beneficial practices routine across your organization by identifying them, empowering you to train on them, track them, create accountability for them, and assess their implementation.
Every case that becomes a formal complaint to the Title VII office or HR is a missed opportunity to have prevented the misconduct in the first place. However, almost all sexual harassment and diversity training is short-lived in its effectiveness, at best. For most workplaces, training is about checking a box rather than transforming a culture. But, if you want true prevention – what the prevention field calls primary prevention – you have to catalyze and empower a multi-pronged prevention strategy that shifts your corporate or organizational culture over time.
To do that, you have to study the culture, understand the data, assess where there are gaps in empathy, policy, understanding, willingness to intervene, embedded power structures that reinforce the status quo or resist change, and how to implement solutions comprehensively. Over time, you can incrementally improve the cultural elements that inhibit discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, distrust, and bullying and replace those elements with a gradually more accepting, inclusive, and respectful workforce. We’re talking about root causes here, not one-hour band-aid online trainings that all employees hate. And the Title VII Plan software will help you to map out a strategy that works for your organization and helps you to identify the tools you need to succeed.
Finally, the last element of the 7P Risk Management Framework is proof. We need proof that the approaches we are taking are effective. The C-suite, the Board of Directors, and the courts demand it.
Since #MeToo took hold in October of 2017, organizations have a new, significantly higher mandate for accountability, and corporate officers need to build capacity and knowledge base on sexual harassment and other prohibited discrimination like never before. The Plan includes tools of assessment that allow you to measure your progress on implementing the Plan across the year, and includes the ability to survey and assess workplace culture to measure the impact of each facet of the Plan.
Title VII Plans are action-oriented, with easy to understand – and implement – steps focused on preventing, addressing, and remedying reports of discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Plans are comprehensive and address:
- Culture and Climate Assessment
- Creating and Evaluating Notice and Complaint Structures
- Eradicating Impediments to Reporting
- Effective Intake
- Creating Interim Actions to Mitigate Discriminatory Effects
- Empowering Bystander Engagement
- Remediation of Discrimination
- Culture Change Strategies
- Policy Training
- Meeting State Legal Mandates
- Primary Prevention
- Protocols for Response
- Civil Rights Investigation Best Practices
- Rendering a Determination that Will Hold Up in Court
- Formal and Informal Resolution Processes
And much more…
We have a team of researchers and attorneys keeping it updated, and through the power of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, the Title VII Plan tool gets stronger with every Plan it completes, as the software adjusts and learns from the answers to the questions users provide.
Additionally, if you opt for the version of the Plan that provides you the opportunity to do an annual culture assessment and assessment of your progress toward implementing the Plan, the software will account for that in your next year’s Plan revisions and updates.
No one’s ever built a tool this smart to address these issues, but #MeToo has changed the game, and now it’s time to up our game.
Find out how you can get started with a customized Title VII Plan – contact our team here.