Our professional code of ethics policy aims to give our employees guidelines on our business ethics and stance on various controversial matters. We trust you to use your better judgment, but we want to provide you with a concrete guide you can fall back on if you’re unsure about how you should act (e.g. in cases of conflict of interest). We will also use this policy to outline the consequences of violating our business code of ethics.
This policy applies to everyone we employ or have business relations with. This includes individual people such as employees, interns, and volunteers, but also business entities, such as vendors, enterprise customers or venture capital companies.
Note that our code of ethics is slightly different than our code of conduct. Code of conduct may include elements such as dress code and social media use, whilst our code of professional ethics refers to legally or morally charged issues. Still, these two codes do overlap.
First, let’s define professional ethics: they are a set of principles that guide the behaviour of people in a business context. They are essential to maintaining the legality of business and a healthy workplace.
So what is a code of ethics? Our code of ethics definition refers to the standards that apply to a specific setting – in this case, our own organisation.
Having our business ethics in writing doesn’t mean that we don’t trust our employees. We strive to hire ethical people who have their own personal standards, so we expect that a written code won’t be necessary most of the time.
But, it can still be helpful. You may find yourself in a situation where you’re not sure how you should act. Life is full of grey areas where right and wrong aren’t so apparent. Some professional ethics also correspond to laws that you absolutely must know to do your job properly, so we will mention them in our code of ethics.
Additionally, every organization makes bad hires every once in a while. We also can’t predict how people are going to behave. When an employee behaves, or intends to behave, in a way that’s against our professional ethics, or applicable laws, we will have clear guidelines on what disciplinary actions we will consider.
For these reasons, we advise you to read this document carefully and consult with your manager or HR, if you have doubts or questions.
We base our business code of ethics on common principles of ethics [Note: Modify this list based on your own organization’s values]:
Here’s a more detailed overview of our code:
It’s mandatory to respect everyone you interact with. Be kind, polite and understanding. You must respect others’ personal space, opinions and privacy. Any kind of violence is strictly prohibited and will result in immediate termination. You’re also not allowed to harass or victimise others.
What constitutes harassment or victimisation? To answer this, we have a policy on harassment and a more specific policy on sexual harassment you can take a look at. As a general rule, try to put yourself in someone else’s place. How would you feel if someone behaved a specific way to you? If the answer is “I wouldn’t like it much” or “I would never let them behave like that to me”, then we don’t tolerate this behaviour no matter the person it comes from.
If someone, be it a customer, colleague or stakeholder, is offensive, demeaning or threatening toward you or someone you know, report them immediately to HR or your manager. You can also report rudeness and dismissiveness if they become excessive or frequent.