Surveyors Website

Website Audio

Donations Please

Draft on the Net

Sexual Harassment 101

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1999 Calendar

Amper, Politziner and Mattia, the regional certified public accounting and consulting firm with offices in Edison, Flemington, Wall Township, and at 601 Ewing Street in Princeton, is bringing out a 1999 calender with convenient reference information. This pocket-size calendar is free and can be obtained by calling Karen Tortoriello at 732-287-1000, extension 309, or by E-mail: tortoriello@amper.com.

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Surveyors Website

The New Jersey Society of Professional Surveyors' (NJsPLS) resource website -- http://www.njspls.org -- offers information for consumers needing land surveying services. The website's FAQ section describes what land surveying is and how it is performed. It also covers important aspects like marking of property corners, how to protect your property investment, title to property, title insurance, and what is required to become a professional land surveyor.

For example: "Why are land surveys so important? Prior to the closing on your new home purchase, a land survey provides important information to you as the buyer. The survey map will show the limits of the land you are purchasing and identify any conflicts in your deed. It will also allow you to see if improvements such as driveways, fences, wells, or even dwellings encroach over the property lines. Any existing property corner markers found by the surveyor will also be shown on the map."

The website also has external links, such as the Land Surveying and Geomatics Online Resources Link, links to state geodetic advisors and other organizations, information about software, publications, and Usenet News. There are links to the American Congress of Surveying and Mapping, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Wetlands Survey and links to individual surveyors in Florida, California, Illinois, and around the country. "The society will be working to improve the website all the time, adding links and more information to make access to land surveying services easy," says Mark L. Husik, NJPLS executive director.

NJPLS provides legislative advocacy, networking, and continuing education through its local chapters and at its annual conference in Atlantic City. Call 800-853-LAND for more information.

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Website Audio

Website Audio Productions (http://www.websiteaudio.com) is offering free audio programs for every business with a website. These programs are fully compatible with Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator web browsers whether the user has low-bandwidth or Internet speed connections.

Websites with audio give businesses greater opportunity to communicate by keeping visitors longer and increasing the number of repeat visits. This increases Internet interaction for each visitor and enables the business to custom-tailor the audio message for the desired results. "The next generation of website design will be website audio," says Craig L. Kapilow, president of Website Audio, based in Oldwick. It is the first company to introduce customized audio narration on the Internet without the use of plug-ins or proprietary players.

Website Audio packages together professional voice-over talent and licensed technology, producing client-supplied scripts in its digital recording studios. The company's announcers have narrated for Madison Square Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, and United Parcel Service.

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Donations Please

The West Windsor Plainsboro High School Post Prom Event seeks tax-deductible donations. Approximately 700 students will attend the event which costs more than $20,000. Donors of at least $100 will be recognized in the Post Prom '99 Sponsor Book distributed to participants and their families. Call the high school at 609-716-5050 for information.

New Jersey lawyers from different firms founded "Holidays for the Homeless" a non-profit group to purchase and distribute gifts of toys and clothing to children in shelters and underprivileged neighborhoods. Last year the group reached thousands of needy children at homeless shelters, battered women's shelters, and through Project Head Start.

The group has 12 lawyers on its advisory board and is mailing appeal letters to lawyers throughout New Jersey. Those who wish to make contributions may send them payable to: Holidays for the Homeless Inc., Box 760, 100 West Pond Road, Woodbridge 07095.

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Draft on the Net

Federal law requires all male United States citizens (as well as male non-citizens residing in this country) to register with Selective Service within 30 days of turning 18. A new on-line service now makes this process easier and much faster. Any 18 through 25 year old male with a valid Social Security number will be able to connect to the Selective Service website (http://www.sss.com), link to the agency's computers, type in his registration information, click on the "submit" button which appears on the screen, and instantly be given his Selective Service number. He will receive his formal acknowledgement postcard in the mail within two weeks.

A man cannot register after reaching 26. Failure to register is a felony, making him ineligible for student loans and grants for college, most federal and state jobs, and training under the Job Training Partnership Act. Male draft-age immigrants who fail to register cannot obtain citizenship.

Today the U.S. primarily depends on an all-volunteer military, but the draft registration program remains to reinstate a timely and fair draft in a future crisis, should a draft become necessary.

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Sexual Harassment 101

Protect your company against sexual harassment lawsuits by sending each and every employee and supervisor to a $99 full-day course in how to avoid the problem. Or bring in a trainer for a half-day session that everyone must stop work to attend.

And here's a better solution: Require each worker and supervisor to log onto a website and spend a half hour taking an interactive course in sexual harassment, followed by a mastery test. They can even print out a certificate, and the certificate can go in their personnel files.

The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce offers this test free, on its website (http://www.njchamber.com) to companies with fewer than 50 employees. Training seminars that take employees out of the workplace are not practical, says Joan Verplanck the state chamber president. "This is just not practical given the pace of business in New Jersey. That's what makes this course convenient. It can be completed 24 hours a day on any computer with Internet access."

"A well-documented employee education effort is key for employers," says Verplanck. "If you can demonstrate that you've provided training, you go a long way toward keeping yourself out of a sexual harassment suit."

"The Supreme Court rulings put a new burden on employers," says Dave Muha, chamber spokesperson, "so that they are liable for conduct taking place in the workplace that they are not aware of. But the court made it clear that the employers can cover themselves if programs are in place to provide training on the issue."

"We are doing this as a public service. That the state chamber is for big employers is a perception that commonly exists. This is meant to demonstrate that the chamber is for small business, and we are doing this for them," says Muha.

Employees who take the course can choose the subordinate or supervisory version, and they can select from among various topics to read. When they finish the course they will be able to:

Identify behavior that might be considered sexual harassment;

Understand the legal and other consequences of sexual harassment;

Describe their role and responsibility in creating a workplace free of sexual harassment;

Know what actions to take against sexual harassment;

Describe their employer's policies and procedures on sexual harassment.

It's easy to recognize sexual harassment in a case when a boss threatens to fire a subordinate because she refused his advances

But does it constitute sexual harassment when a co-worker persists in asking you out for a date, even though you have said no? Yes.

Or when the workplace has a "girlie" calendar on the wall? Yes.

Or when someone in the workplace persists in telling offensive jokes, and has been asked to stop? Maybe. It depends on whether a "reasonable woman" would think the jokes offensive.

All this is explained in the chamber website, designed by New Media Learning LLC, formerly of Basking Ridge, now located in Virginia (http://www.newmedialearning.com).

Here is what it says about employee responsibilities:

"Two landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions on June 26, 1998, clarified the responsibilities of both employers and employees in preventing sexual harassment.

"The Court ruled that employers are responsible for the behavior of their employees, but that employees must report any complaints they have, and that employers with well-publicized sexual harassment policies and complaint procedures can cite this in defending themselves.

"Employees who object to behavior of others should

"1. Ask the offender to stop, and

"2. Report their concerns to a supervisor or other member of management to ensure the problem is properly handled."

The course is supervised by employment law attorneys, human resource professionals, and educators. It is free for employers with fewer than 50 workers. For larger firms Wendell Laidley of New Media LLC (703-242-6690) is handling the licensing fees, which can range from $500 to $2,000. The chamber paid about $2,500 for the program, and it has offered to electronically store the records of the tests for possible later use.

We at U.S. 1 Newspaper like to think we know a little bit about sexual harassment. Not that we have experienced it, but our reporters have written umpteen stories about the subject. So we took the pretest and got 100 percent. Then we spent 20 minutes more on the website and took the "mastery test." After answering all the questions right, we printed out the mastery certificate. Score: 93 percent, despite no incorrect answers. The message, apparently, is that there is always room for improvement.

-- Barbara Fox


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This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com -- the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

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