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GRC Professional : GRC Autumn 2012
30 GRC Professional • Autumn 2012 The scenario posed is an all-Too- com mon problem . it’s easy to sit here and say, “Yes, of course you must report breaches of compliance and demand that action be taken”. But, in the real world, it can be really hard to do. companies that only reward employees on sales targets, then try to look the other way when their top performers do the wrong thing, may end up in a world of hurt. so if you are the compliance officer and you know someone is breaking the rules (or the law), how do you get around this issue? • Step 1: doc ument, docu ment, doc ument. docu ment the m isconduct. doc ument the reporting you do up the line. document any response from management – if the response is oral, make notes immediately after the conver s ation. • Step 2: Use your knowledge of the organisation to determine your tactics. if the organisation is risk-averse when it comes to potential fines or regulator y ‘inter ference’, use this to your advantage. For example, one tactic might be to raise the risks of non-compliance with certain procedures in your compliance report, or even in an email to your employer. don’t make it about the salesperson who is doing the wrong thing – make it about the risk to you r em ployer, or the com pany bra nd . Use phrases like “it is my job to raise issues of non-compliance w ith you”. another tactic is to find an example of another company getting in trouble for not taking action over a similar matter, and use this to bolster your arg ument that action needs t o be t aken. s ome starting points for your employer would be to look at the criminal code. The problem with being the complia nce of ficer is that people see you as the ‘no’ person. and yes, in the longer term, there are strategies you can work through to change that – but today, right now, you need to be able to get a fix on the problem that you have with one salesperson. if it is a ‘gut feeling’ then you will need the evidence – is there a regular audit that needs to be undertaken that might pick up the issues you believe are in play? But, be careful not to target the individual. it is important to keep in mind that you are not superman or Wonder Woman, so if you can’t fix the problem, and no one will allow you to access the resources you need to remedy the issue, all you can do is doc ument your concer ns and m a ke sure the decision-makers are aware of the risks they face by not t aking act ion. and consider getting a new job. What Would you do? Scenario WHen ManaGeMenT conDoneS BaD BeHaVioUr You are aware of numerous instances of misconduct by a salesperson in your organisation. You have taken the issue to management, recommending the individual be fired. Management refuses to implement your recommendation. The salesperson brings in high revenue and you feel he is being rewarded instead of reprimanded for his misconduct. QUeSTionS What ethical issues does this raise? What can you do to protect yourself? What message does this send to other employees and what are the implications to company culture? Melanie SHerrin law yer, Holley nethercote document the misconduct. document the reporting you do up the line. document any response from management. in THe oFFice
GRC Summer 2012
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