Clients often ask us for guidance when trying to understand the difference between statutes, regulations, and guidance documents, and to pinpoint compliance requirements for their business in the context of offering an anonymous employee hotline. You might say we’re asked to give guidance on guidance, and it is a legitimately challenging aspect of compliance.
A statute is a law and, when it’s federal, it’s applicable nationwide for a specified purpose, such as to require federal contractors to offer an anonymous hotline to report suspected fraud and abuse. When a statute mandates that an employer provide an anonymous hotline reporting system, it is just that – mandatory. Failure to comply with the statute can result in monetary fines, ineligibility to procure municipal contracts, and, in certain circumstances, even incarceration.
Regulations are the next level down in the pyramid of government enforcement. Whereas statutes are passed by a legislature, regulations are issued by departments and agencies. Generally, regulations are issued in response to a directive from the legislature in a statute for the department or agency to create the implementation for the statutory requirements.
Finally, there are guidance documents, which are also generally issued by agencies and departments. Guidance documents are like textbooks, setting our discussions to try to help people understand what was already written into statutes and regulations. Guidance documents do not carry the weight of law or regulation, but can be used as a standard and/or as evidence of legislative or regulatory intention. In other words, it is prudent to heed guidance documents in the same manner that one complies with statutes and regulations.
This maze of requirements is precisely why you would be wise to partner with Ethical Advocate for all of your compliance hotline needs – including the needs you don’t know you have. Here at Ethical Advocate, anonymous hotline reporting systems are what we study and design every day for clients all across the United States and internationally in all industries. It’s our job to know all of the statutes, regulations and guidance documents, so that we can help you meet all of the government-imposed requirements. Our goal is to get your company into employee and third party reporting compliance so that you can focus on your core competencies.
Hotline compliance doesn’t have to be intimidating or confusing when you work with Ethical Advocate. From statutes to regulations to guidance documents, Ethical Advocate is your trusted partner for compliance with anonymous hotline reporting requirements.