Retaliation happens more than we want to believe. Companies should treat it as a serious threat and manage it actively, as they would with other serious risks.

People are predisposed to dislike and distrust bad news messengers, making retaliation a somewhat natural defensive response to unwelcome concerns.

Retaliation is such a serious threat to compliance and ethics programs that it should be treated as its own legal and regulatory risk.

Hot off the press, Amii and compliance colleague Joe Murphy tackle this issue in their article, “Retaliation: The not-so-silent killer of compliance and ethics” in SCCE CEP magazine.

  • We provide 8 pointers for companies who want to do the right thing,
  • and 6 steps you can take to prevent, detect, and deter retaliation.

What other guidance would you add? Drop us a line on what’s worked well for your organization.

Conflicts of Interest

For the latest on COIs, visit Jeff’s blog. Inaugurated over 10 years ago, the blog is an invaluable resource. As many of you know, COIs often present the most common sort of C&E issues in business organizations.  They can also be the most difficult to resolve, both because there is no overarching set of COI-related laws (unlike, for instance, competition law) and also because COI issues are frequently raised in intensely personal circumstances.

The blog is, among other things, aimed at helping organizations and individuals address specific COI challenges with information about the practices and experiences of companies, the expectations of enforcement officials and the research findings and ideas of scholars.

Test Your Knowledge

(All questions are true/false)

  1. Executives are always personally liable for the wrongdoing of their employees.
  2. The board of directors should not involve themselves in compliance matters as this is likely to increase the prospect of individual liability for an employee’s misconduct.
  3. A company cannot be liable for the action of its independent agents if it did not have actual knowledge of the agents’ wrongdoing.
  4. A conflict of interest is not a problem if it does not involve a “material” amount of money.
  5. Eric Idle was the member of the famed comedy troupe Monty Python, who helped pioneer the use of ethics in industrial videos.

Upcoming Events

We’ll be speaking at these upcoming events – reach out if you’ll be there and let’s meet up!

SCCE Alaska Regional Compliance Conference (virtual), February 23, 2023
“Compliance and Ethics Risk Assessment: The Foundation of an Effective C&E Program,” Amii Barnard-Bahn & Rebecca Walker

Practising Law Institute Compliance and Ethics Essentials (virtual and live), June 26-27, New York, NY, Chair and “Compliance Risk Assessment,” Rebecca Walker

Compliance Week’s Women in Compliance Summit (live), June 27-28, 2023, Atlanta
“The Buck Stops Here: How to Get Paid What You’re Worth” – Amii Barnard-Bahn
“Compliance Training That Sticks” – Rebecca Walker

Test Your Knowledge — Answer Key:

  1. False
    While there are many circumstances where liability is effectively “strict,” such is not always the case. Still, as a matter of being careful and professional, executives would be well advised to conduct their affairs as if they could be potentially liable for employee wrongdoing.
  2. False
    While this “head in the sand” approach may have been acceptable at some point in the past it is no longer the case.
  3. False
    Many companies have been prosecuted based on wrongdoing by their agents, notwithstanding a lack of actual knowledge by the company.
  4. False
    Even where the amount involved is immaterial, conflicts of interest can create serious reputational harm and can sometimes lead to civil litigation or enforcement measures.
  5. False
    It was John Cleese.

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