Posts Tagged ‘Compliance Program’
When: Tuesday, October 02 to Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Where: The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa, San Francisco, CA, USA
There is no denying that FCPA and corruption enforcement has seen a vast uptick across domestic and international jurisdictions. In an environment like this, it is critical to avoid getting caught in the regulatory crosshairs. Are your compliance program and internal controls sophisticated enough to withstand the impact?
Minimize your company’s risk exposure by ensuring that an effective anti-corruption compliance policy is in place, continuously audited and that all employees are trained and up to speed on what current corporate compliance policies are.
Learn what steps your company needs to take to successfully implement and monitor an effective
anti-corruption compliance program under the current enforcement environment.
Back for its 16th iteration, ACI’s FCPA Boot Camp, in San Francisco, is structured specifically to provide a forum for addressing the continuing and emerging areas of focus for FCPA enforcement. A must-attend event for legal counsel, fraud examiners, investigative and compliance counsel/officers and FCPA attorneys, attendees of this highly rated boot camp will walk away with a comprehensive, working knowledge of the current enforcement environment, along with practical strategies for addressing high risk areas of exposure across your business operations.
Featuring an updated agenda with increased focus on building a risk-based compliance program. Learn how to:
- Develop your company’s “heat map”: how to assess your specific risk profile based on your industry or geographic scope
- Prevent FCPA violations and facilitation payments in global supply chain and customs operations
- Leverage internal audit to detect books and records violations
- Conduct effective training for high risk markets: how to ensure the global trickle down of your compliance message
- Conduct effective and cost-conscious internal investigations
- Overcome electronic and data privacy challenges in global FCPA investigations
Strengthening Your Compliance Program in China through Employment Building Blocks – From Onboarding to Termination
Expert Article by Ananda Martin & Lesli Ligorner
For multinational corporations operating in the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”), employment considerations play a key role in the design of a robust anti-corruption compliance program. From onboarding to termination, having the right contractual protections and corporate policies in place can greatly reduce the risk of corruption-related issues and increase the ability to investigate and discipline employees who run afoul of the company’s code of conduct.
Getting it Right at the Beginning: Considerations for Onboarding
Because China does not recognize at-will employment arrangements, disciplining and terminating employees can be especially challenging. It is therefore crucial that PRC-based employers build contractual provisions into employment agreements that give them maximum flexibility in the event that an employee becomes involved in a corruption-related matter. From a contractual perspective, this means setting forth clear grounds for termination for violations of anti-corruption law under both PRC and international law. It also means providing Chinese language versions of all key employment documents, including the employment agreement, the employee handbook and the code of conduct or other documents outlining the company’s anticorruption policies. From a policy standpoint, the “tone at the top” – and in the middle – must send a clear message that bribery is inconsistent with company culture and must be supported by protocols and written materials such as an employee handbook that sets clear guidelines with respect to high risk expenditures such as gifts, travel and entertainment. Intake procedures for new employees should ensure that employees have a working knowledge of company policies and know whom to turn to with questions or concerns.
Getting it Right in the Middle: Monitoring and Internal Investigations
Some companies stop there, but a truly robust compliance program includes ongoing training, monitoring and strategic “stress testing” of sensitive areas such as relationships with third parties and government officials. Accounting, legal and human resources departments should work together to formulate coordinated approaches to perennial China challenges such as business expense reimbursements and handling of official invoices or fapiao.
In the event that an internal investigation becomes necessary, companies must be careful to comply with PRC rules governing employee data privacy. Best practices include building prospective language into employment agreements that permit an employer to search, copy and transmit employee communications on company computers and other electronic devices. Employers should also consider providing employees with company-issued cell phones and personal digital assistants to ensure that they can access all relevant data on those devices.
Getting it Right at the End: Considerations for Termination
As previously mentioned, China lacks the concept of at-will employment and imposes a number of obligations and restrictions on the employment relationship. Chief among these is the requirement that, in the event of an employment dispute, both parties submit to mandatory arbitration whose outcome, in practice, is heavily weighted in favor of employees. Many employers seek to avoid this process through a negotiated settlement. If allegations of bribery are driving the termination, management should consider the potential for misuse (or the appearance of misuse) of severance payments.
If arbitration is unavoidable, many employers will want to keep the content of such proceedings confidential. A pre-negotiated confidentiality agreement or similar language in the employment agreement is much easier to secure at the beginning of the employment relationship than at the end. Employers should be prepared for retaliation from employees slated for termination and have in place solid whistleblower protocols to investigate any allegations that arise from disgruntled workers.
Through proactive planning at the intersection of employment and anti-corruption law, PRC- based multinationals can bolster their compliance program and mitigate some of the risks attendant to doing business in this challenging environment.
For more information about the topics discussed in this [Client Alert], please listen to K. Lesli Ligorner’s talk on “Strengthening Your China Compliance Program through Employment Building Blocks: From Onboarding to Termination,” presented on September 9, 2011 as part of the American Bar Association International Anticorruption Committee’s programming.