Fall 2013

Social Networking in the Workplace

Social MediaMore than 75 percent of American workers use some form of social networking*, and that number is likely to increase. And it’s not just younger workers who are using social media tools; employees in all age brackets are online and interacting in significant numbers.

While social networking offers new and interesting ways for people to communicate and get work done, it can also create some risks for you personally and for your organization.

Following are some best practices to steer you – and those you may manage – in the right direction and help answer the question, “to post, or not to post?”

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Social Networking Q & A

Q: I know one of my employees visits inappropriate social media sites during the workday, but no one has complained and he is very discreet. Accessing the sites has not interfered with his ability to get his job done. Should I address this issue now or wait until I receive a complaint?

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Fall Issue Contest: Meet Ethical Ezra and Eva

officeworkerTwo colleagues who often find themselves in the most interesting predicaments. . .

**This is a new recurring column that will appear in The Compass. We present to you a competition to be the creative force behind the faces of Ethical Ezra and Ethical Eva. Tap into your creative spirit and submit your design for what you think Ethical Ezra and Eva should look like. All entries must be your original work (i.e. not copyrighted). Entries may be submitted to ucompliance@vcu.edu by January 31, 2014. The creator of the selected design will win a $100 gas card! Winners will be contacted in February and announced in the Spring issue of The Compass.

Ethical Eva

Eva’s daughter Eliza has an upcoming fundraiser at her elementary school. Eva has volunteered to have fliers printed to advertise the class’s event that would raise money for classroom supplies. The graphic designer who developed the flier has just emailed the final proof to Eva while she is at work. Being pressed for time, Eva begins to consider printing 100 of the fliers at work using the office color printer and then passing them out to her collegues. What should Eva do?

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Join Dr. Rao and His Administration by Completing Your Compliance Education Module by November 30

CodeAs members of the VCU community, we are committed to the highest ethical standards and employing integrity in all of our business decisions. Accordingly, everyone is required to complete the Compliance Education Module, which supports this commitment and helps ensure that everyone is aware of key policies and available resources needed to meet the university’s expectations. Join Dr. Rao and his administration in this endeavor by completing your module by November 30th and in doing your part to contribute to a 100% compliance rate in your area.

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Spotlight on the Law of Workplace Harassment

(reprinted from Mosaic, a quarterly newsletter from the Office for Inclusive Excellence)

by Martha Parrish, Esq.


For many of us, the hours we spend at our jobs consume most of our waking hours. In fact, sometimes it feels like we spend more “quality” time with our bosses, co-workers and subordinates than we do with our families and loved ones. The formalities of the traditional office have given way to a break neck “24-7” work cycle imposed by cell phones, lap tops and iPads. Email and texting increasingly replace face-to-face meetings. The resulting miscommunication and unraveling of healthy work relationships lead to nagging feelings of being misunderstood or simply not heard. Sometimes a failure to communicate can elicit stronger emotions. Rightly or wrongly, the frustration and anger that accompanies unresolved work conflict are what lead employees to report feelings of being “harassed.” Reported (and unreported) claims of harassment raise legal issues and compliance requirements.

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Reasonable Accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act

by Paula McMahon

ADAwheelchairThe Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is bipartisan is a federal statute that provides protection and promotes equal opportunity for people with disabilities.  The ADA defines disability as a physical, sensory or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activity (including walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for oneself, or performing manual tasks). If an individual has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment he or she is also protected.

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Welcome to VCU, William King, University Ombudsperson

ombudsAfter a national search, William E. King has been appointed to serve as the new VCU Ombudsperson. Mr. King’s appointment was effective on August 31, 2013.

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The Required Reporting Rundown: Consumer Information Disclosure Requirements in Higher Education

CapitalRecently, much attention has been given to documenting the estimated cost of attendance for colleges and universities. Student loan debt has become a great concern to lawmakers, who want to ensure that the commitment of students’ limited financial resources will have been a worthwhile investment when they seek employment after graduation.

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Ever Heard of Export Controls? They Do Apply to Research Universities.

If you haven’t heard of export controls before, you are not alone; it’s not exactly a topic readily discussed at many cocktail parties. This is one of the most complex areas of regulation by our federal government. It is important to keep in mind that no matter your personal views on those topics covered by export control regulations and how they integrate with higher education, these requirements come from our federal government in the name of national security.

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Clery Corner: The Daily Crime Log vs. The Annual Security Report

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) requires colleges and universities to maintain a daily crime log as well as requires the publication of an annual safety and security report.

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Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Program Continues to Progress

The ERM Program continues to gain momentum and meet important milestones. Read the rest of this entry »

Compass Reading Corner

booksfor contribution to and continuation of a supportive and ethical culture.

The following list is not an endorsement of any author, book, idea, or official university statement but merely suggested books identified as potential interesting reads for anyone focusing on the power of people in the workplace.

Already read these? Have a comment or success story related to one of these books to share? Share it with us at ucompliance@vcu.edu and maybe you will see your comments shared in the Spring Issue of The Compass.

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Policy Program Update


  • Have you been asked to create or revise a policy?
  • Are you familiar with the university’s Policy Program?
  • Have you visited the Policy Library?
  • Would you like answers for any and all of your policy questions?

The Integrity and Compliance Office can help you with your policy questions, assist you with policy development, and add your policy to the Policy Library.  Audrey Michael, Senior Compliance and Policy Analyst, can be reached at policy@vcu.edu or 828-3982.

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Kudos to the Following Employees

VCU Compass

Recognition Awards

VCU has long been committed to meeting the highest standards of service and professional integrity in all our business operations. The following employees have been recognized by their colleagues through the Human Resources Recognition Award page for their contribution to a culture of ethics and compliance at VCU.

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VCU Helpline Telephone Service Interruption on October 7

Teal HelplineOn October 7, 2013 from 10:45am to 4:45pm, telephone service for the VCU Helpline was temporarily interrupted due to a power outage. During the outage, any employees attempting to call may have received a message that the line was no longer in service. Telephone service has been fully restored and we apologize for any inconvenience.

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