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What is a code of ethics and does my business need one?

What is a code of ethics? A code of ethics, also known as a code of conduct, is a set of standards adopted to govern the conduct of a group of people. Groups such as national medical associations adopt codes of ethics that govern members in individual practices across many places of employ, while individual businesses may adopt more specific code of ethics to ensure integrity within the company. How to formulate a code of ethics and make it work for your company A company’s code of ethics will generally cover behaviour that, while not illegal, is nevertheless harmful to the company and/or its clients. A good code of conduct should include a motivating statement regarding the reason for its existence and the company’s purpose. It should also address the consequences of violating the code as well as ways to report violations of the code. Its language should be clear and avoid meaningless phrases, focusing instead on directly communicating expectations. A code of conduct will not be very useful unless it is widely known and followed; it should therefore be referred to frequently, becoming a part of company culture rather than being read once at hiring and disappearing forever into the bottom of a file cabinet.

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What Is a Code Of Ethics and Does My Business Need One?

What is a code of ethics? A code of ethics, also known as a code of conduct, is a set of standards adopted to govern the conduct of a group of people. Groups such as national medical associations adopt codes of ethics that govern members in individual practices across many places of employ, while individual businesses may adopt more specific code of ethics to ensure integrity within the company.

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Common Ethics Violations

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Common Ethics Violations

The ethical behaviour of most business professionals is regulated by codes of conduct. Common ethics violations can include the mishandling of funds, conflicts of interest, and lapsed licensing.

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Importance of Global Whistleblower Hotlines

In North America, there is a concern amongst some business owners, that by launching new employee work rules, specifically whistleblower hotlines and codes of conduct, that there may be an employee pushback, especially in unionized workplaces. There is a fear that a whistleblower's call to a workplace hotline triggers a separate cluster of legal issues, such as managing internal investigations, employee discipline and whistleblower retaliation. But North American employers, even unionized ones, that offer a stand-alone workplace whistleblower hotline to staff rarely face blowback. Indeed, offering employee report "procedures" affirmatively complies with a mandate in Sarbanes-Oxley and is a recommended "best practice" response to the Dodd-Frank whistleblower bounty.

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