A recent Corporate Compliance article featured my Best Practices for leveraging U.S. Department of Justice Guidance on Evaluating Corporate Compliance and Ethics Programs (DOJ Guidance).
The DOJ will apply the Guidance in deciding whether to prosecute or fine you or your business. Wise people will take note. And use the Guidance to their advantage.
- Don’t let the tail wag the dog. Remember that the Guidance tells you what the DOJ will look for, not how best to run your compliance and ethics program.
- Periodically map company structures, training, and processes to the guidance. Mapping preempts problems. It also maximizes communications privilege and helps you steer busy investigators with ready data.
- Render unto Ceasar. Implement Guidance criteria that reflects compliance and ethics best practices. Start with things that are easy to implement, generate favorable data, and avoid creating additional risk.
- Beware guidance pitfalls. Think carefully before implementing commercially unreasonable Guidance criteria. Some create significant additional risk. Also, ensure changes improve processes rather than simply tamper in ways that do harm.
- Forestall or remove (but never hide) red flags. Instill communications discipline. Monitor follow-through on processes. Document continuous improvement.