Who isn’t already thinking spring and baseball and the Boston Red Sox? (Okay, we’ll make an allowance that you may have another team in mind, but, for now, just run with where we’re going.)
But what if your red SOX amounts to fraudulent financial activity under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act?
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 set standards for all U.S. public company boards, management, and public accounting firms, including the certification of the accuracy of financial information. SOX requires an anonymous method for employees to report concerns about accounting and financial matters, as well as receipt, retention, and processing of complaints received by the company.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, itself, does not dictate a particular submission method for employee complaints. Various forms will do, including telephone, e-mail, mail, fax, and drop-box. The key is that at least one confidential, anonymous method is available to employees. The legislative purpose is to encourage employees to come forward without fear of reprisal.
Under Sarbanes-Oxley, it is not just the confidential reporting platform that matters; it’s also how that data is processed. Companies falling under SOX are required to institute written guidelines for the handling of the reported information. This can be as simple as memorializing the flow of reports on different subject matters to the appropriate company official and/or department.
Indeed, this two-prong approach of Sarbanes-Oxley for reporting plus action is precisely what Congress was after in 2002. The run-up to SOX included the now famous events at Enron. The design arose, at least in part, from the Congressional testimony of Sherron Watkins, VP for corporate development at Enron. When asked why she hadn’t taken the memorandum to her immediate superior or the CEO, she said she was uncomfortable raising her concerns and saw it as a “job-terminating move.”
Whether you are designing compliance and ethics hotline and training solutions under Sarbanes-Oxley, Federal Acquisition Regulation, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or others, Ethical Advocate can assist with both program design and implementation. Instead of worrying that you’re facing the Green Monster at the Red Sox Fenway Park, why not call Ethical Advocate today. We’re on the same team.
Contact us to discuss the details for your ethics program or to get started with a new ethics hotline.