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Code of Conduct Policy

What is the code of conduct?

code of conduct policy

Code of Conduct and Professional Ethics Policy for Employees


As per Wikipedia A code of conduct is a set of rules outlining the social norms, religious rules and responsibilities of and or proper practice for an individual.

Generally, the code of conduct is written for employees of a company, who protect the business and informs the employee of the company’s expectation. It is important even for the small companies to have a code of conduct so that employees are aware of the company's expectation of them in terms of behaviour.  The below-explained code of conduct sample outlines the major guidelines to be followed by an employee.

Code of conduct in practice:

Code of conduct is important in order to make conducive culture in the organisation, however, code of conduct alone cannot help. It is also the management responsibility to walk the talk.  Senior leaders must manifest ethics in attitude and behaviour. The employees of an organisation big or small must be well trained in implementing the right conduct in their professional work and behaviour. It must also be continuously observed by senior management to check whether the code of conduct policies needs any improvement or not.

Simple reading and signing of the code of conduct is not enough.  The actual proof that code of conduct is being conducted and followed professionally is seen when employees are comfortable sharing any concern and with the confidence, that action will be taken by the company.

What is the Code of Ethics?

According to Investopedia a code of ethics may be explained as:

A code of ethics is a guide of principles designed to help professionals conduct business honestly and with integrity. A code of ethics document may outline the mission and values of the business or organisation, how professionals are supposed to approach problems, the ethical principle based on organisational core values, and the standard to which the professional is held. A code of ethics also referred to as "Ethical code",  may encompass areas such as business ethics, a code of professional practice and an employee code of conduct.

 

Various examples of the code of ethics are the compliance based code of ethics, value-based code of ethics, code of ethics among professionals etc.

 

What does it mean to follow the professional code of ethics?

1. To follow and making a better understanding of the company policies, procedure, and laws.

2. An employee is expected to conduct themselves according to the code, policies related to code of conduct and laws etc.

3. In case an employee gets to see any breach of the code of conduct in any part of the company or come across any colleague not abiding by the policy such matters should be bought into the notice of management and HR.

4. All employees are expected to read and understand the company's code of conduct. They are requested to certify that they have reviewed, understood and agrees to follow it.

5. The employees are also expected to follow the code of conduct as one of the most important parts of their job.

Why has a code of conduct?

Having a code of conduct defines the values, responsibilities, and promises a company has. If an employee has a query related to ethics, it can be answered only by such documented code of conduct. Though it is not possible to capture or answer every situation wherein ethical judgement is required to be answered by the code of conduct policy but most such situations have been tried to be included in the policy.

Whether it is legally mandatory or not an organisation must have a code of conduct. It means to have guidelines so that the employees know what is expected out of them. A well-written code of conduct must have values, mission, vision, and principles to be followed and they all must be linked with the standard behaviour of an employee. An ideal code of conduct can act as a benchmark against which the performance of employees in terms of ideal behaviour can be measured.

A code of conduct acts as a guidance tool when an employee face problem in making an ethical decision. It can also act as a reference point which can help employees to locate documents, services and other resources related to ethics within the organisation.

 

 The most important purpose a code of conduct serves:

1. It acts as a detailed document when it comes to the most ethical and legal document out of business.

2. Guide employees whenever they come across an ethical dilemma.

3. It helps in building the company's culture in terms of integrity and excellence.

4. It helps the company to maintain its compliance with complex government regulations.

5. It also helps in building the trust of the company in public.

6. It increases the business reputation.

7. It enhances the morale of the employee.

8. It also helps in promoting marketing efficiency.

9. It gives protection while fighting against any lawsuit.

 

Disclaimer: The content prepared has been created with the greatest care. These policies have been prepared for a sample. However, for accuracy and completeness, hrhelpboard cannot guarantee.The user is therefore requested to professionally check or to have professionally checked the suitability of all content for its use.

 

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Sample Policy.1  (Code of Conduct of Company )

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                                          INDEX

1. Purpose

2. Scope

3. Clauses covered under the Policy

3.1 Dress Code

3.2 Cyber security

3.3 Internet Usage

3.4 Cell Phone

3.5 Company’s Email

3.6 Social Media

3.7 Conflict  of Interest

3.8 Confidential information

3.9 Fair Dealing

3.10 Company assets

3.11 Professionalism

3.12 Financial information

3.13 Gifts and other benefits

3.14 Harassment 

3.15 Compliance  with Laws and agreement:

3.16 Fraud

3.17 Bribe

3.18 Charitable contribution

3.19 Transacting with the third party

3.20 Relationship at work

3.21 Lobbying

3.22 Improper opportunity

3.23 Records and Audit

3.24 Accounting Practice

3.25 Reporting to unethical and illegal behaviour

3.26 Penalties for failure to comply

4. Responsibilities in following code of conduct: 

5. Revision of the policy

6. Explanation of the policy

 

Purpose: The purpose of the code of conduct policy is to define guidelines regarding employee behavior with respect to their supervisor, colleagues and organization as a whole.

Scope: This policy applies to all employees of the organisation.

Clauses under the corporate code of conduct:

3.1 Dress Code

Our Company follows the dress code. However, an employee position may also inform how they should dress up. If an employee is in the marketing department wherein meeting client and customer is a regular practice in such case employee is expected to follow a formal dress code. Employee is also expected to come well dressed and clean.

The company, however, allows grooming that is guided by religious beliefs, ethnicity or disability.

3.2 Cyber security:

It is necessary to define guidelines for the use of the computer, phones, internet usage, social media to protect the assets and to enhance security.

3.3 Internet Usage:

The company provides internet to employees basically for business purpose. However, occasionally it can be used for a personal purpose, to the point; it is not obstructing normal job responsibilities of employees. There are points which are to be followed while using the company's internet.

1. Downloading of obscene, offensive material.

2. Sharing of confidential information with others.

3. Interfering with other employee’s privacy.

4. Downloading or uploading pirated movies or related material.

5. Surfing of websites which can damage the company's network

6. Doing any illegal action like Hacking, fraud etc.

3.4 Cell Phone:

Use of cell phone is a necessity today. We as a company allow the use of cell phone for business purpose or personal purpose. However, few points to be kept in mind which are:

1. Use cell phone maximum for business use like business calls or use of any cell phone app for business purpose, calendars etc.

2. Keep cell phone minimum for minimum personal use in office hours.  Try using common area or meeting room for personal use as it does not disturb colleagues.

3. Using a cell phone for playing games etc in office hours is strictly prohibited.

4. Use of cell phone is not allowed in the area where the company's confidential records are being kept. Also sharing of confidential information is not allowed with cell phones.

5. Uploading or downloading of inappropriate or illegal material is prohibited with the use of cell phones.

3.5    Company’s Email:  

As per code of conduct policy at the workplace use of email is being guided as follows:

1. Use corporate email id for business purpose. The use of email for the official purpose can be without any limitation. An employee can go to the company's newsletter and other services required for professional growth.

2. Use for the personal purpose: Company's email can be used for the personal purpose as far as it is safe for the company's server. It must not have spasm and an employee should not use it for sending confidential information belonging to corporate.

3. An employee should implement the model code of conduct for use of emails.

The general expectation regarding the use of email is as follows:

1. No Signing up for illegal websites etc.

2. No Sending of marketing content or email etc.

3. Registering for competitors services unless you are authorised to do it.

4. No Sending of  discriminatory messages and content

5. No spamming other employee emails.

3.6    Social Media:

The company provides access to social media for its employees. Code of conduct for employees defines the use of social media. Generally, social media can be used both for the personal and professional purpose. 

Certain guidelines to be followed by the employee while using social media on company premises:

1. No excessive use of social media for personal purpose while in office.

2. It must not interfere with the normal routine of employees

3. No exchange of any offensive or derogatory material

4. Company's confidential information not to be shared on the social media platform. Any breach or rules and regulations will demand disciplinary action against the employee.

Official use of social media:

Following the guidelines mentioned under "code of conduct at work” are compulsory to be followed while using social media for official use.

1. Be active and patient with the use of social media

2. Have a discussion only on the topic of one's area of work

3. Avoid getting in the discussion which does not belong to employees area of work

4. Seek help from public relation department before posting major content.

3.7    Conflict of Interest:

Conflict of interest arises when any personal benefit from another source interfere with the employee's responsibility towards the company. Examples of conflict of interest under the code of conduct policy can be explained as:

Accepting any kind of bribe etc from a third party source. A conflicting kind of situation happens when an employee takes some action which interferes with the normal working of the employee within the organisation. Conflict of interest also arises when an employee or any immediate member accept something from a competitor or third party basis his/her position. 

Some situations have been explained wherein the conflict of interest is observed:

a. Simultaneous employment:  It implies that an employee is working side by side with a competitor, supplier, and customer along with the company. It is generally not allowed to work as a consultant or board member until unless permitted by the management of the company you are currently employed with.

b. Money or compensation from other sources:Any kind of money or compensation must not be allowed to be taken from competitor, supplier or customer other than the company you are currently working with.

c. Gifts: Acceptance of gifts from the competitor, customer etc.  Which are given with an aim to influence any person’s action etc. should not be accepted. Offering/ receiving /giving any such gift is an example under the conflict of interest.

d. Employment of a relative:  As per the company’s code of ethics any employee is hired, promoted in the company basis merit. There is no phenomenon of nepotism, favouritism,  etc with the company. A relative is someone who is related by blood or marriage within the third degree to an employee. Before employing a relative in the

company the following points must be taken into account.

1. There must not be any reporting relationship with the employee.

2. One can't be promoted or hired within a reporting relationship with a relative.

3. You cannot directly / indirectly involve in the hiring process of a relative.

e. Workplace visitors:The code of conduct for employees also says that if an employee wishes to invite a visitor at the workplace it is necessary that permission is taken from HR and immediate reporting manager. While visiting the premises visitors are requested to give complete details in the entry register and carry an identity proof with them. They will receive a company pass to enter the premises and must return the company passes on exit.

1. The visitor must not be taken into the area which contains dangerous machines etc.

2. Sharing of any confidential information with the visitor must be strictly prohibited.

3. Visitors cannot gather donation etc. in the office premises.

f. Corporate opportunity:  An employee is expected to advance the legitimate interest of the company whenever an opportunity to advance arises. This is done while following the Professional code of ethics.  Employees  are therefore guided  to  prohibit the following:

a. Making use of opportunity  which belongs to business for personal use

b. Use of the company's property, information etc for personal use.

3.8 Confidential information:

Employees of the company to maintain the confidentiality of information which is not to be shared outside as it might be harmful to the company and gainful for the competitor.

Sometimes confidential information is shared with senior management basis their position. Such information when entrusted must not be shared in public.  Disclosure of confidential information can be done only when permitted by senior management or bylaws to do so.

3.9 Fair Dealing:

One of the examples of the code of ethics is to deal rightly with employees, suppliers, contractors, customers etc. No one is allowed under the code of conduct policy to take unfair advantage of anyone through manipulation, abuse of privileged information, misrepresentation of material facts or any other unfair dealing practice.

 

3.10 Company assets:

Company assets should be used with caution. There must not be any wastage, misuse of company assets as it results in loss of company's profitability. All business assets shall be used only for the legitimate business purpose.

3.11 Professionalism:

The employees are expected to follow the Professional code of ethics under which they must behave professionally in their work and while dealing with other colleagues, customer, supplier etc. They are also expected to maintain integrity & honesty in all their work. Ethical and legal standards should be Maintained in business. Employees must help the company to maintain an open and supportive environment. The employees must also try that there should not be any misrepresentation of facts. 

3.12 Financial information:

Financial information is needed in order to make the proper management decision. Many employees working in finance department come across such information. Employees must try not to share such information outside. Also, employees are expected not to disturb financial data. All financial transaction must be recorded accurately in case there is any discrepancy. It must be reported immediately to the manager or supervisor.

3.13 Gifts and other benefits:

The model code of conduct says that employee should not be given or accepts benefits or privilege arising due to one's position in the company and which are given or taken with intent to influence any business decision. Acceptance of money, gifts or other benefits is strictly prohibited.

However, as per code of conduct policy acceptance of gifts of minor values like a pen, diaries etc are acceptable.  In case of any doubt with the acceptance of gifts one can discuss the same with his/her supervisor and can take the decision accordingly. HR can also be consulted on the same.

3.14 Harassment:

The Company is committed to providing an environment which is free from any kind of discrimination based on religion, caste, creed, marital status etc. Employees are also expected to support the company on the same. However, if an employee comes across any kind of harassment as an act by any customer or supplier the company will provide the affected employee with all the support and will also provide preventive measures on the same.

3.15  Compliance with Laws and agreement:

All employees shall conduct business in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations of the particular district, state or country.

 

3.16  Fraud:

Any kind of fraud intentionally is subject to strict disciplinary action:

Some examples of Fraud are:

1. Misrepresentation of financial data

2. Submission of false financial report

3. False reporting of any kind of financial transactions

4. Forged checks

3.17  Bribe:

Abiding by the values under “Code of ethics” bribe of any kind is not accepted in the company.  There should not be any incidence of offering directly or indirectly any types of gifts, anything of value to the partners, customers, colleagues, etc. to:

1. Get business

2. Affecting business decisions

3. Taking unfair advantage for one’s position.

3.18  Charitable contribution:

The charitable contribution is allowed under the “Company’s code of conduct in the workplace” but some points to be kept in mind:

1. The company or individual receiving the contribution must be a registered organisation.

2. It should be valid as per the government laws.

3. The Contribution is made without any self-interest.

4. Any person or company receiving the contribution must not be related to management.

5. No contribution to be made to private account of an individual

6. All expense made under contribution should be updated by the finance department in accounts book.

3.19 Transacting with the third party:

The Company tries to be in touch with the government agencies all by itself, however, any situation may arise wherein third party agent is needed to carry on the transaction further. A formal contract must be signed between the company and the third party. Such a relationship should be based on the "Code of ethics”. A copy of the code of conduct must be given to the third party. It is to be ensured that any fee, commission or the remuneration is paid to the third party is reasonable, bonafide and commensurate with the functions and services performed. Such matter must be reflected in the book of accounts.

3.20  Relationship at work:

Any personal involvement with a colleague, customer, the supplier can distract the normal working of the team. Any such issue must be discussed with manager or HR and corrective actions can be taken accordingly.

3.21 Lobbying:

Lobbying or any such related activity must be regulated. There should be no representation of the company in any such meeting until unless it is specifically designated by the company to do so.

3.22 Improper opportunity:

To abide by the Code of conduct for employees we should not trade it for employees self-interest and personal benefit. Employees by any means must not compete with the company.

3.23 Records and Audits:

For any company's operation of business it is crucial to have correct records and financial transactions. There are certain standard and laws which are to be followed in managing accounts for the company. It is possible by maintaining proper internal controls and procedures.

3.24 Accounting practice:

It is the policy of the company to fully and fairly disclose the financial condition of the organisation according to laws, rules, and regulations. All record of the company must reflect all the transactions made so far.

3. 25 Reporting of unethical or illegal behaviour:

It is generally promoted in the company that any kind of unethical or illegal behaviour must be reported to the superiors immediately. As the company relies on Company code of conduct in the workplace such matters should be reported to protect the company from any far off damage. In case the employee is not comfortable sharing it with superiors, such matters should be reported to the audit committee. The company does not believe in retaliation of any kind by or on behalf of the company and its employees.

3. 26  Penalties for failure to comply:

All employees in the organisation are expected to abide by the code of conduct. Any violation of code will result in disciplinary action against the employee.

 

Strong disciplinary actions will be taken against the employee found violating the code of conduct. Corrective action will be taken:

1. Violation of company’s code of conduct, policy or procedure or any applicable law.

2. Guiding others to violate the policy or procedure.

3. Seeing breaching of the code of conduct but not reporting to it.

4. Noncooperation in company's audit and investigation.

5. Skipping training.

6. Revengeful behaviour against anybody reporting a concern in good faith.

4. Responsibilities in following the code of conduct

Following the Corporate code of conduct is every employee responsibility. It, however, varies from position to position but responsibilities can be documented:

Employee responsibility:

1. It is employee responsibility to understand the code of conduct well.

2. The Employee must adhere to the guidelines mentioned in the code of conduct to make the decision.

Manager’s responsibility:

1. A manager must act as a role model following code in everyday working.

2. Provide motivation to employees in raising concern in case they come across any incidence wherein codes of conduct guidelines are violated.

3. Promotion of Code of conduct within the company.

4. Arranging training programmes for the team to follow the code of conduct in all they do in the company.

5. Responding well to employee concern or issues.

Management responsibility:

Management responsibility lies in proper implementation of policy.

 

5.  Revision of the policy

The company reserves the right to revise, modify any or all clauses of this policy depending upon the demand of business.

6.  Explanation of the code of conduct policy 

 Corporate HR department will be the sole authority to interpret the content of this policy.

Read more : Difference between a complaint and blowing a whistle

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Sample Policy. 2 for Code of Conduct an Ethics at Workplace

Free Template for examples and quick uses

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Objective: The objective of code of conduct policy is to make sure that company code of conduct is followed in all its business. The organisation is meant to form a work environment which is free from any kind of discrimination. It is also meant to make employees aware of corporate code of conduct which is expected from all employees of the company.

Purpose: The purpose of this policy is to lay down rules and regulations regarding code of ethics and professional conduct so as to maintain the trust of employees in the organisation they are working for and to increase transparency which in turn help bring good name to the company. This Model code of conduct is planned to focus the employees on the fields related to any risk related to ethics, and to provide them with a solution which helps to deal with such issue and to help them build a culture of transparency and honesty.

Eligibility:

This Policy applies to all the regular employees of the company.

What is code of ethics?

A code of ethics document tells about the mission and values of an organisation. It also tells about the kind of problems faced by employee’s related to ethical issues and basis what they can take the right decision.

Clauses Covered under the Policy

Conflict of Interest: ascent code of conduct.docx the employees are supposed to work at all times in company’s interest. There should not be any conflict where in employee personal or professional interest interferes with the interest of the company. Employees are expected not to involve themselves in any other business or activity which may affect their working in the company. As per the code of ethics example all employees have a sense of faithfulness towards the organization they are working for. Therefore, they must avoid any kind of situation which is contradictory for the interest of the company. There should not be any conflict of interest with the company. This is as per the Model code of conduct.

A situation of conflict arises when an employee personal interest are interfering with his workings for the company effectively. Conflict of interest may also occur when an employee misuse his powers to receive improper personal benefits.

Conflict of interest may also occur when an employee is involved in double employment or accepting gifts of very high value for personal gains which may create a situation of conflict of interest.

Respectability: It means the employee is following the code of conduct in the workplace. It includes their obedience towards the personal behaviour which is expected from an employee in their work and interpersonal skills.

Privacy: As per professional code of ethics an employee is suppose to keep the confidential information private. Due to employee position in the company they may come across some private and confidential information which is meant not to be shared with anyone inside or outside the company. Some undertaking regarding this must be filled in at the time of joining. Such information can be shared only when permitted by the senior management to do so. Any leakage of such information can be beneficiary to the competitor and it can be harmful to the company.

Privacy of financial Particulars:  As per the company code of conduct a company is suppose to disclose the company’s financial as per the accounting principle rules and regulations. All records of the company must clearly reflect the company’s transactions.

Cheating: Any kind of cheating as per the code of ethics definition is not allowed within the organisation. Following will be considered as an act of cheating:

1.            Claiming reimbursement  on false expense report

2.            Using company assets for personal gains

3.            Illegal transactions

4.            Double employment

5.            Sharing wrong data in company records for accounting purpose

6.            Sharing of confidential information

7.            Unfair dealings

8.            Non compliance with company’s rules and regulations

9.            Documents forgery

10.          None reporting of illegal or unethical behaviour.

Safety and security of company’s property:

As per the code of conduct of employees they are required to maintain company’s property with utmost care. Employees are responsible for keeping safe the company’s property from any misuse, theft or any other act that result in the loss of property. The clause is also applicable in case of inventions and patents. It is also not allowed to dispose of any company property for personal gains.

Involvement in another business or employment:

According to corporate code of conduct an employee is suppose not to be engaged or interested in any other business or employment. All employees are supposed to devote their time and efforts to promote the company’s business they are working for.

Harassment:  Any kind of harassment on account of age, sex, religion, race, caste, physical disability, marital status, gender is strictly prohibited. Employees are responsible to take all necessary actions and steps in term of support or preventive actions. This is as per the code of conduct at work.

Documents withholding:  All the documents related to senior management must be taken care of as per the documents policy. Documents should not be destroyed as they might be used for any future cause. Any document which is to be destroyed must be approved by senior management. This is according to the code of conduct in workplace.

Alcohol or illegal substance use: All the employees are to be informed that use of alcohol or any other substance like illegal drugs etc is strictly prohibited.

Presents and Other profit: As per the code of ethics example an employee must not accept or give any presents or gifts which might affect company’s business decision. Any exchange of gifts with customers, suppliers is strictly prohibited. Any kind of direct or indirect bribe or inducements are not allowed. Any such acceptance will be the violation of code of conduct.

Abiding to the law, rules and regulations:  No inside trading of any kind is allowed within the company. Each employee of the company must abide to the rules and regulations of the organisation. No trading is allowed in the company’s securities.

Reporting of unethical or illegal behaviour:  All unethical or illegal behaviour must be reported to supervisor or senior management. In case employee is uncomfortable sharing it with supervisor or senior management in that case employee might approach the audit committee.

Job responsibility and control: As per the code of conduct at work employees must do their job with integrity and honesty. Supervisors and managers must have proper control over the power assigned to them. In no case they are allowed to misuse it on their subordinates. Both managers and their subordinates to work in collaboration.

No Retaliation:  According to the code of conduct example their must not be retaliation against the employee who raises against any wrongdoing within the company. Any such act will be the violation of code of conduct. Raising a concern cannot be the basis of adverse employment.

Compete Fairly: What is code of ethics? The code of ethics means following something within the limit of ethics. It goes out well when it comes to compete fairly. There should not be any deception or abuse of confidential information to have an edge over the competitor.

Career Opportunity:  According to the code of conduct for employees no employee is allowed to use any opportunity arising due to working within the company at higher position or using information for personal gains. No competing is allowed within the company.

Right dealing: According to code of ethics and professional conduct all employees should deal rightly with the customers, supplier’s internal and external customers. No one is allowed to take advantage of one’s position and to deal wrongly by misrepresentation.

Attendance reporting:  According to the code of conduct for employees all attendance must be marked regularly. However in case an employee is unable to come to work for any reason supervisor must be contacted.

Social Media:  As per company code of ethics no content related to company should be posted on any site without approval from the senior management. No information regarding company’s colleagues, vendors, suppliers are made public on social media. Also use of logo, trademark is strictly prohibited.

Job responsibility and control: As per the code of conduct at work employees must do their job with integrity and honesty. Supervisors and managers must have proper control over the power assigned to them. In no case they are allowed to misuse it on their subordinates. Both managers and their subordinates to work in collaboration.

Anti bribery and money laundering:  As per the company code of ethics no employee is allowed to bribe anyone inside or outside the company. No bribe is allowed to be offered to any official for business reasons and for sake of unfair advantages. Money laundering is strictly prohibited within the organisation.

Data Privacy:  Data collected from employees for internal purpose of the company such data should be kept private. It is as per the code of conduct of employees. However if need arises to share such data with an outside company, consent must be taken from employees before sharing. Once data has been used for relevant purpose and it is no longer required for any official purpose it must be destroyed as per company policy.

Environment & Sustainability:  Our code of conduct policy gives equal importance to environment protection and sustainability. We as a company give our best to preserve the environment. Regular education is given to our employees regarding environment conservation.

Failure to comply with code of conduct:  Any failure in order to comply with code of conduct must be dealt with strict punishment which might include loss of service or termination.

Revision of the policy

The company reserves the right to revise, modify any or all clauses of this policy depending upon demand of business.

Explanation of the policy

Corporate HR department will be sole authority to interpret the content of this policy.



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