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Compliance – Are You Sure You Aren’t Breaking the Law?

It’s not always easy to know when you are in compliance.

Compliance probably sounds like arcane mumbo-jumbo that only lawyers have to deal with. But in truth, compliance violations are more common than you think.

A backyard BBQ, friends and family gathering around. One person is in an especially good mood—she knows her company is about to launch a new product that is going to hit the market big time. She expects her company’s stock price to make a huge jump when the announcement is made. She wants to share the good news with a few close friends, and give them the chance to get in on something big.

After all, she figures, it is just a small group of confidants. It isn’t like she is doing anything illegal. Right?

Wrong! These little scenarios play out all the time. Compliance can be tricky, and you may be in violation of the law without even being aware of it. Awareness is the key to prevention.

If you are aware of potential pitfalls, you are less likely to stumble into them. After all, courts don’t care why someone breaks the rules. Ignorance is no excuse—and violations can hurt.

Free tickets to the game? Thanks!! Bribes and influence comes in many forms. It doesn’t have to be a movie scene exchange involving dark corners and envelopes stuffed with cash. Sometimes bribery is disguised as a friendly gesture.

Send those files to our office in the UK? Not a problem! You know there are rules for mailing packages and such across national borders, but did you know there are laws regarding the exporting of digital information as well?

Many countries have different privacy laws, and you need to be sure that you are in compliance with the regulations of the destination company. It doesn’t matter if you are physically in that country or not! That’s just how they do it here. Gotta grease the wheels a little.

Bribes are illegal when you are doing business overseas—or anywhere, for that matter. While it is true that some countries turn a blind eye to bribes and might even expect them as a matter of course, U.S. companies are bound by U.S. law. It doesn’t matter what country you are doing business with.

Be extremely careful when giving or receiving anything that could be considered a potential bribe. That includes donations, political contributions, and cash and services.

My daughter is volunteering for a local political action campaign. Of course I’m going to let her use the office phones!

Whoa! It is great to encourage your daughter to take part in political activities, but watch out for conflicts of interest. There are policies and regulations regarding the use of company time and property in political campaigns.

Look into your company’s Code of Conduct and read up on conflict of interest policies and regulations.

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