Business leaders cannot prevent their companies and organizations from an employee-driven crisis. But they can take steps to reduce the odds by establishing, promoting and enforcing standards for the behavior and ethics of their employees. Documents can also be useful in dealing with crisis situations.
An analysis by ethics experts of the first US Supreme Court ethics code that was announced earlier this month provides key insights for corporate boards and other business leaders to consider when preparing or revising their organization’s code of ethics. one
A code of ethics “is a reflection of leadership’s priorities, risks and values.” Patricia HarnedCEO of the Ethics & Compliance Initiative, said via email.
Note that a good code:
- “It is a clear communication of an organization’s overall commitment to doing what is right in all its operations.”
- “He plans things that not all members of the organization should do.”
- “It helps employees understand what the right behavior looks like (or what they should do).”
- “It contains clear information on how to report suspected infringements,
- “It is written with an organization’s values, risks, standards and intended impact in mind.
It is lacking
Of the Supreme Court new code appears to be lagging behind in significant ways, according to ethics and leadership experts and observers.
“A dismissive attitude”
“Essentially, the court begins by asserting that the recent spate of scandals that caused the public to question the integrity of the court were not really scandals at all. If that is the case, then the court must necessarily believe that they were already operating within the parameters of what the following code would allow, rendering it unnecessary in their eyes.” Nicholas Creelassistant professor of business law and ethics at Georgia College and State University, observed via email.
“Starting the code with such a dismissive attitude doesn’t make it look like the code itself will actually change the way they operate,” he commented.
“No real consequences”
“Overall, this document is best described as vague and moderately prohibitive, with seemingly no real consequences for non-compliance. Therefore, it is difficult to imagine how this code would actually make the court more ethical,” Creel said.
The Court’s new code is “a jumble of law, compliance and ethics. To say that “a justice must respect and obey the law” is redundant, inaccurate and derogatory. It is not immoral to break the law. it’s illegal”, Rabbi Yonason Goldsonits author Grappling With Gray: An Ethical Handbook for Personal Success and Business Prosperityhe said via email.
“The Supreme Court, although it is the highest court in the land, has virtually no oversight. The code of conduct is an attempt to govern the Court. However, it is still up to panel judges to enforce the code, so one wonders how effective it will be.” Ben Michaelan attorney at Michael & Associates said in an email.
“I hope that when ethics issues arise, the Court will consider those issues as an institution in light of the Code (rather than leaving discharge decisions solely to individual judges, as has largely been the case in the past). If the Court does, then I think the Code will be an effective tool.” Cassandra Burke Robertsona law professor and director of the Center for Professional Ethics at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, predicted via email.