Compliance is there to protect workers, not punish them
Monday, April 30, 2018 at 9:28AM
Richard L. Cassin in FCPA Guidance, Hallmarks, May Day

Tomorrow is May 1st -- also known as May Day or International Workers' Day -- a public holiday in most of the world, including our present location. It's a day to honor workers and their achievements, and to give people a well-timed spring holiday.

We're convinced that one of the best things a company can do for its employees is to have an effective compliance program. When the rules against bribing foreign officials on company time are clear, life is simpler and a lot safer.

Employees we talk to sometimes assume a compliance program is just another way to punish hapless workers. Not true, we tell them. A compliance program is for everyone's protection. Be grateful your company cares about staying on the right side of the law.

Companies that ignore compliance or settle for slipshod programs are putting themselves and their employees at great risk. Without clear lines, workers naturally become confused. They might think a well-placed bribe to help the company will enhance their careers.

Imagine their surprise and horror when the company fires them, as it must, and helps the U.S. Justice Department or UK Serious Fraud Office (among others) prosecute them for a bribery offense that could send them to prison for many years.

Companies that respect their employees and want them to succeed will give them a safe workplace. One way to do that is by having an effective anti-corruption compliance program.

What's that?

The ten hallmarks of effective FCPA compliance programs are described in the DOJ-SEC Guidance:

    1. Commitment from senior management and a clearly articulated policy against corruption

    2. Code of conduct and compliance policies and procedures

    3. Oversight, autonomy, and resources

    4. Risk assessment

    5. Training and continuing advice

    6. Incentives and disciplinary measures

    7. Third-party due diligence

    8. Confidential reporting and internal investigations apparatus

    9. Continuous improvement: periodic testing and review, and

    10. Mergers and acquisitions: pre-acquisition due diligence and post-acquisition integration.

That's it. Nothing too complicated or expensive, and all within easy reach of any organization and its management.

We wish everyone celebrating May Day tomorrow a safe, happy, and compliant holiday.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.

Article originally appeared on The FCPA Blog (
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