News Roundup: Are Slow Contracts Holding Up Progress?

Is the pace of business being held up by slow contracts? This week’s news points to that being the case.

With business constantly moving at a faster pace, regulations are usually trying to play catch-up. This week in the news, whether it’s workplace equality or self-driving cars, companies are trying to move business forward with better regulations and contracts.

Companies Are Warned About Compliance ‘Minefields’ for Pay Equity

Consistent, compliant communication is something on the minds of legal teams. How does that translate to HR processes, employee handbooks, and recruiting? Often messages are different between departments. With companies touting their diversity and inclusion rules as a “badge of honor,” maintaining a clear message across a company is important to mitigate risk and avoid legal battles.

Twenty-three states have now passed regulations to ensure equal pay in the workplace, nearly half of those states just recently. With businesses recognizing the impact a lawsuit can have on their reputation, many are scouring contracts and rules to ensure they deliver a clear message from beginning to end of negotiation and hiring. Treating workers fairly is a huge focus for companies, and many are now taking the legal steps to ensure this happens.

Self-Driving Cars Are Here, But The Feds Still Haven’t Decided The Rules Of The Road

“Innovation loathes regulations,” the article begins, and when it comes to self-driving cars, this is most certainly the case. With the Department of Transportation taking a hands-off approach to regulations for self-driving vehicle testing and states being able to independently set their own rules, most places are free for these vehicles to be tested in any circumstance.

Self-driving cars have the statistics behind them suggesting they will drastically improve road conditions and reduce fatalities. The issue is, there are currently so few regulations that many people have grown to feel a distrust of self-driving cars because of the incidents they have caused thus far, most recently, a fatality in Arizona and a collision with a fire engine in California. While many are not opposed to the idea of autonomous vehicles, they simply want more guidelines in place before they completely take over the roads.

What “inclusion rider” really means

Can contracts promote diversity? The short answer is yes—actors can include a common clause in their contract that states a certain percentage of diversity both in front of and behind the camera. USC’s research on inclusion calculated that if top-starring actors had done this in 2013, the number of equally proportioned films would have gone from 16 to 41 percent, a huge jump when focusing even on just the top 25 films.

Inclusion has been a conversation that individuals in Hollywood have long fought for, while the industry as a whole has remained largely under criticism. The trending #OscarsSoWhite in 2015 to tests that scan films to determine if two women talk to each other about something other than a relationship have helped raise awareness of the issue on a larger scale. Although there is still a long way to go even with many of the initiatives that have been made for diversity, scanning the terms and conditions of a contract can help promote equality and increase the variety of people working on a film.

Contracts have the power to move change and progress forward. Whether it’s safer transportation or a more diverse workplace, businesses should be reviewing their contracts to ensure they are helping companies move forward into the future.