January 25, 2018
Whether you do business internationally or domestically, your anti-corruption training program should ensure your employees, partners and third parties understand their responsibilities to follow anti-corruption laws and avoid even the suspicion of bribery in their business practices and interactions.
In the US, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is the principal federal law that makes it a crime to pay a bribe to a foreign public official for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. Bribery of domestic public officials is illegal under Section 201 of Title 18 of the US Code, while bribery between entities in the private sector is prohibited at the individual state level.
The FCPA, enforced by the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission, applies to any company that does business internationally or whose securities are listed in the US. Besides covering anti-bribery, the FCPA also has a books and records and internal controls provision, and companies as well as individuals can be held liable for violations.
10 Questions To Ask About Your FCPA/Anti-Corruption Training Program
When it comes to FCPA/anti-corruption training, the focus should be on awareness, reporting and prevention, not legal jargon. Here’s a list of ten questions that can help you assess whether your training is targeting the right priorities for your organization.
- Do your employees, partners and third parties know what constitutes bribery and corruption in your specific organization and industry?
- Are they familiar with the anti-bribery provisions that apply in the countries and regions where you do business?
- Can they spot the warning signs and red flags of bribery – both the obvious and subtle ones – they may encounter in their work?
- Do they know how to use your reporting procedures to report actual or suspected acts of bribery?
- Can they differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate business gifts and know what’s acceptable under your Gifts and Entertainment Policy?
- Can they tell the difference between an illegal bribe and a permissible facilitation payment?
- Are they clear about who is a “foreign government official” under the FCPA? (It’s a broad category and not always easy to know).
- Do they feel comfortable asking for help in making the right decisions when encountering ethical grey areas?
- Do they understand the disciplinary actions that everyone – from the CEO to new hires to intermediaries – faces for engaging in bribery and other corrupt behavior?
- Can they demonstrate in their daily business practices and behavior their commitment to your Code of Conduct and anti-corruption program?
If you can answer “yes” to the 10 questions, congrats! If not, it’s time to reevaluate your anti-corruption training.
The World Bank Group estimates that businesses and individuals pay an estimated $1.5 trillion in bribes each year, causing widespread damage to the global economy and social fabric of nations. By making your anti-bribery/anti-corruption training a cornerstone of a robust compliance program, you can communicate the importance of ethical behavior to your employees, partners and third parties, while ensuring they know how to act and react to specific risks they may encounter in their business interactions.