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By Reinier W.L. Russell, LL.M.
Russell Advocaten, B.V.
Amsterdam, Netherlands 

How do you create a transparent, open and professional corporate culture where everyone knows which actions would be considered appropriate and which would (not) be considered ethically acceptable?

Increasingly often, company managers are dismissed because of violations of the code of conduct, such as involvement in scandal, (sexual) harassment, fraud or leaks of sensitive information. This is also due to the increasing public interest in this kind of violations and the zero tolerance policy nowadays applied by many companies.

Of course, you want all your employees to act with integrity, but you should definitely be able to rely on the major players of your company. A director who is subject to an integrity investigation while he should set an example for your employees can cause a difficult situation.

How do you, as an entrepreneur, make sure that everyone who acts on behalf of your company, both inside and outside the company, acts in a manner you desire?

Practical Tips

Our lawyers recommend to have drawn up an integrity policy containing the core values and rules of conduct of the company.

Why Have an Integrity Policy?

  • By means of an integrity policy you can point out the standards and values you would like to convey.
  • An integrity policy can contribute to moral understanding within the company.
  • The policy applies to everyone who agreed to it.
  • In the event of integrity dilemmas the integrity code could provide a solution.
  • The policy provides clearness regarding proceedings.
  • The policy may include sanctions that could be imposed in case of violations of the code of conduct.
  • In the event of disputes with employees regarding non-ethical conduct, you will be in a stronger position if your company has a known integrity policy.

The integrity policy can either be a separate document or it can be included as part of the employee handbook/code of conduct which also contains a social media policy.

What Can We Do For You?

Russell Advocaten helps enterprises and their directors carrying out an investigation (fact finding/integrity screening) and conducting proceedings regarding integrity issues within companies. In addition, our lawyers provide advice on what you can do to create the desired work environment, for example by drafting, implementing and maintaining a sound integrity policy. Please contact us.