Improve Compliance Programs to Avoid Government Investigations
April 21, 2017
Employee misconduct is a significant factor in many cases that lead to government investigations and a major driver for legal fees, fines and associated costs. This means companies need to embrace practical and attainable measures that can reduce non-compliance and the likelihood of government investigations.
As a general principal, companies can save money if they establish a robust compliance program, follow up on potential issues as they arise, and implement a culture of compliance wherever the company operates. A short, succinct, easy-to-follow policy that outlines major risk areas is the most likely to be understood and internalized by non-lawyer employees, especially in cases where it must be translated into other languages and applied in a variety of cultural contexts. Employees of U.S.-based public companies, wherever they are located, must be specifically educated on the FCPA. In addition, there has been a proliferation of foreign anti-corruption laws, and in many venues a more rigorous enforcement of existing law. After it sets up a compliance program, a company must ensure it is periodically audited and reviewed to address changes in regulations and enforcement trends.
Investigating a potential issue, and raising it to management and/or the board of directors if significant enough, is better than waiting for a regulatory body to require it. Proactive internal investigation by a company, before regulators are involved, allows the company to remain in control, with privilege protection, and make its own determination of the most appropriate action.
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