WeComply: Catering to Regulatory Whims One Corporate Training Module at a Time

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WeComply/Facebook

Government regulation got you down? Don't worry; buy WeComply!

Owned by Thomson Reuters, WeComply produces corporate training modules and ethics courses. Many are devoted to helping employers comply with dumbass state and federal training requirements.

I suppose that's a valuable service. But there's just something vaugely icky about a bureaucracy-aiding agent that's literally called we comply. Comply with what? Whatever's the new regulatory hotness! For instance, WeComply just revamped its "Preventing Sexual Misconduct" modules for college campuses. 

Recently the Campus SaVE Act—not to be confused with the sex-trafficking SAVE Act—created a requirement that colleges and universities launch sexual-assault awareness and prevention programs for both students and employees. "Our Preventing Sexual Misconduct courses can help institutions ensure campus-wide compliance with the Campus SaVE Act," said Steve Perreault, global head of eLearning at WeComply.

From the company press release:

WeComply offers separate Preventing Sexual Misconduct training courses for faculty and staff members, teaching assistants, and students. Each version focuses on the special responsibilities and requirements of those individuals in preventing and handling complaints of sexual misconduct and maintaining a safe and respectful campus environment.

The 30-minute courses begin with a look at the various reasons for concern and an overview of anti-harassment laws and policies. The courses then discuss the Campus SaVE Act, sexual harassment and sexual violence, and the types of harassment and behavior to avoid. Other topics include reporting sexual misconduct, bystander intervention, responding to complaints, and the effects of trauma. The courses conclude with a discussion on how to avoid retaliation.

The shorter, 10-minute training course for students covers sexual violence, quid pro quo, hostile environment, when to intervene and what to do if it happens to you.

(The quid pro quo threw me too, but someone explained that it probably refers to handling "sleep with me if you want a good grade/promotion" type of situations, not a lesson on good sexual etiquette between students.)

How likely is a 10-minute video to be effective at teaching students anything on these serious and nuanced issues? Not very. This is simply a check-box that campuses now have to mark. And this is how feel-good federal regulations drive up the cost of doing business—which, in schools, is obviously passed on to students—and waste everyone's time.  

WeComply also offers courses on conflict minerals and "avoiding insider trading." 

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  1. “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a sexual harassment module boring a roomful of people – forever.”

    1. I used to work for a medical ultrasound company. We once had to undergo sexual harassment training, so we all dutifully filed off to the class. At the end of class during the Q&A section, one of our lead clinical folk asked the following [paraphrased from memory]:

      “My job description includes asking strangers to take off their clothes and lay back, whereupon I insert lubricated probes into their orifices, take photos them, then pay them for their time. Is there a special form I need to fill out?”

  2. After “We Comply” comes “You Submit and Look Slippy About It”.

  3. My company makes their own preventing harassment training modules, and I would look forward to it because a buddy of mine was in some of the accompanying photos. There he is in the foreground looking sadly offended because in the background several coworkers are sharing a joke, “Did you hear the one about Dolly Parton’s breasts?”

    This was 2008, not 1978. And no they never gave us the punch line.

  4. I suppose that’s a valuable service.

    Yes, it’s a very valuable service. Companies pay lawyers big bucks to help them navigate the compliance jungle. Anything Thomson can do to lower compliance costs is a good thing.

  5. part of me applauds the company for seizing an opportunity, albeit one artificially created by govt over-reach. Another part of me laments that this sort of shit exists.

    1. Yeah, that’s exactly how I feel about it.

  6. Based on the title, I expected a picture of an androgynous pedophile with “We Comply” written on his hands and a creepy soulless grin.

  7. What is more surprising about this story is that apparently you guys never heard of this stuff before.

    I guess not everyone works @ big corporations before moving to writing for Reason.

    1. Oh wow, you ninja’d me on this. This was exactly what I thought.

  8. sexual-assault awareness and prevention

    Why do I have the feeling there will be an inverse relationship here and not the one they (supposedly) think.

  9. “The quid pro quo threw me too”

    Have you never been gainfully employed? This is a routine sexual harassment term that comes up in any new hire orientation, ever.

  10. I keep misreading “SAVE Act” as “SLAVE Act”.

  11. The government version of the “WeSaySo” Corporation from the old muppet tv series… http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/WESAYSO

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