Not too long ago, Supply & Demand Chain ran a great article on 10 misconceptions that increase the likelihood of FCPA violations that every supply management organization involved in international business should review. The following five misconceptions in particular are dangerous to your average organization.
- We are a private company so we don’t have to be concerned with the FCPA
Government enforcement agencies will go after any company that they believe may have committed a FCPA violation. Given that a company can be criminally fined up to 2 Million per violation, it’s a safe bet that every whiff of a FCPA violation will be investigated.
- Our employees know our position on ethics because our policies spell it out.
Just because the organization has an employee manual, this doesn’t mean that the majority of the employees have read it. Or that they remember the policy. Or that they believe it has to be followed.
- As long as employees and agents have certified that they have not paid bribes, we have done enough.
A cursory certification will not hold up as a defensible position when a company needs to explain to regulators the actions taken to prevent bribery payments.
- Our global whistleblower hotline is effective because no violations have been reported to date.
Fewer than 3% of misconduct reports occur through a whistleblower hotline.
- Since we don’t have a controlling interest in our overseas business partnership, we have no need or authority to extend our compliance program and policies.
As the article notes, a company must protect themselves by ensuring that joint venture partners are conducting business in accordance with FCPA and local corruption laws, regardless of ongoing control.
Don’t get caught in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Make sure compliance and mitigation efforts are in place at all times.