EP. 20 Those gray areas of harassment, pay equity. Real issues. Real advice.
Laurie McGraw is speaking with Inspiring Woman Susan Gross Sholinsky, an expert on those workforce issues that still exist and really matter.
Susan Gross Sholinsky gives employers the tools they need to make smart decisions about their workforce challenges. She is a sharp, versatile partner to executives, human resources, and in-house legal teams who seek her out for her straight-forward advice and access to boots-on-the-ground resources, regardless of location. Susan also helps employers ensure compliance with the latest local, state, and federal laws, from sexual harassment, to discrimination, restrictive covenants, paid family leave, and accommodations. When a company makes an acquisition, she literally writes the legal and compliance script for ensuring a smooth transition and integrating employees into the new organization. Her succinct talking points help deliver key updates and tough decisions to affected team members.
Whether she’s conducting training on anti-harassment (similar to Epstein Becker Green’s “Halting Harassment” online training tool) or leading training on diversity, internal investigations, or performance documentation best practices, Susan’s effective training style helps managers spot problems early and boost productivity through safe, compliant practices. Susan helps employers respond rapidly to social issues, like the #MeToo or racial justice movements. She spearheaded the firm’s COVID-19 taskforce that provides employers with practical advice supported by training programs compliant in all 50 states, and dozens of pandemic-related policies and forms, as well as client advisories, blog posts, and articles.
Susan holds several leadership positions within the firm, including as Vice Chair of both the Employment Labor & Workforce Management Steering Committee and the Diversity and Professional Development Committee and as a member of the Finance Committee and the Executive Committee of the Women’s Initiative. Among her many professional and community volunteer initiatives, she has served multiple years as New York Co-Chair of 2020 Women on Boards: Global Conversation on Board Diversity. She was also recognized as one of 2020’s Responsible 100 by City & State New York, an award bestowed upon private-sector leaders whose work makes life better in communities in New York City and across the state.
- Managed a software company’s absorption of two companies. Susan reviewed existing employment agreements and offer letters to make sure the company understood its obligations, and drafted scripts to communicate with employees. She facilitated the auditing of 401(k), pension, severance, and stock benefits, and helped ensure a seamless transition of benefits by merging company handbook and other policies of the various entities involved. Susan also reviewed the wage and hour exemption status of incoming employees to confirm compliance with federal and local laws.
- Created a global sexual harassment policy for a major international private equity firm. This substantial undertaking required Susan to coordinate with local counsel in multiple countries to make sure the company’s uniform policy could be enacted to the extent practicable in all locations.
- Conducted sexual harassment and manager training for a major hospital’s administrators, supervisors, and chiefs. Susan trained thousands of employees in several locations.
- Designed and led a four-day intensive internal investigation training program for the U.S. HR, Compliance, and in-house legal teams of one of Japan’s largest banks, which gave the company a cost-effective means to conduct their own investigations.
- Counseled numerous clients on updating their paid time off (PTO) policies to incorporate nationwide sick time requirements and, where desired, provide unlimited PTO. Susan frequently advises clients in creating a “leave suite” to avoid overlapping policies for Family and Medical Leave Act, paid family leave, short-term disability, workers’ compensation, and salary continuation.
- Advised clients on all aspects of COVID-19 workforce management. Susan helped clients assess their workforce needs and prepare for layoffs and furloughs. She provided due diligence of their selection process, and drafted furlough notices, employee FAQs, and separation agreements. She prepares leave of absence and remote work policies for during- and post-COVID-19 workforces and continues to provide return-to-work safety training and facilitates the creation and enforcement of protocols to address actual and suspected positive COVID-19 cases in the workplace.
- Trained numerous HR and legal teams for compliance in response to the #MeToo movement. Through a series of in-person and virtual programs, includingHalting Harassment, Susan gave clients a roadmap for dealing with harassment claims with the right procedures. She also helps ensure that systems are in place to avoid future allegations.
- Spearheaded initiatives for major global financial services companies, large international retailers, and a major U.S. sports league to address key areas of focus, including “ban the box” policies, flexible work policies, accommodations, sick leave, family leave, equal pay, salary history inquiry bans, and LGBTQ+ rights. Susan helps clients stay current with rapidly changing laws across the country and makes it easier for them to keep pace with changing rules regarding compliant policies, updated forms and posting requirements, and employment training.
- Oversaw various pay equity audits, including one at a major pharmaceutical firm.
- Northwestern Pritzker School of Law(D., 2000)
- Cornell University(S., 1995)
- School of Industrial and Labor Relations
You can follow Susan on LinkedIn.
Read the transcript here.