Shortly before the conclusion of the Supreme Court’s term in June 2023, the Court delivered three blows to President Biden and Democratic party. First, the Court struck down the student debt relief program championed by President Biden. Second, the Court ruled in favor of a Colorado web designer who sought the right to refuse service to a same-sex couple. Lastly, the Court gutted affirmative action by making it unlawful for colleges to consider race as a specific factor in admissions. These high-profile decisions came just over a year after the contentious Dobbs decision, following an extraordinary leak, which overturned abortion rights that had been established under Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. These cases are perhaps marred by recent ethics scandals amongst the justices. Consequently, voices from both sides of the political aisle have called for reform of the nation’s highest court.
It’s hard and expensive to find and retain good employees. With this in mind, it’s not a surprise that companies are willing to try all sorts of things to make sure their employees stick around. For example, many companies have attempted to establish corporate mentorship programs where newer employees are paired up with veterans who can show them the way. But is this the right approach? Mentoring programs typically rely on single mentor-mentee matches and formal hierarchical pairings. Even if you can implement the best mentoring program, it is unlikely to achieve its intended result when the surrounding workplace is competitive and individualistic. For mentorship programs to have a real effect on the workplace, it seems that we all must take a step back and realize that real mentorship starts with company culture, not formal programs.
By now, Michael Avenatti is a household name. He shot to fame in 2018 while relentlessly representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her pursuit of the invalidation of a 2016 non-disclosure agreement regarding an alleged affair with President Donald Trump. Avenatti is famously brash and confrontational, and since his rapid rise to fame, numerous allegations of professional misconduct have come to the public’s attention. While he has avoided formal discipline thus far, it seems like only a matter of time until Avenatti faces some consequences for his actions.
Most major American corporations develop and implement an ethics and compliance (E&C) program. However, too often, the ethics division of these programs falls to the wayside, with companies putting more focus on legal compliance rather than creating an ethical corporate culture. While it is true that compliance can technically function without an ethics component, a robust ethics program can be an extremely efficient way for a company to promote legal compliance, as well as consumer trust and loyalty.
The battle over pesticide use has long plagued the agricultural sector. The legal challenges to the use of chlorpyrifos has created a debate about how to protect our agricultural system and the harm caused by these dangerous chemicals. A lawsuit was filed based on the EPA’s failure to follow advice of their own scientists. The battle over the use of certain pesticides, and the shifting focus of the EPA has created concerns over the ethical standards of officials in key positions.
Modern business thinking has come to accept that reputation is as important as financials. As investors look for companies that demonstrate this understanding, compliance professionals are in a unique position to make their companies more appealing.
In the graphic novel and film “The Watchmen,” there is a reoccurring phrase: “Who watches the watchmen?” In context, it’s an indictment of the comic book world’s broken justice system. However, in a compliance context, the concept can be just as important. In a recent discussion with a hospital system’s compliance officer, he raised the point that a company’s compliance department is seen as the ultimate authority and expertise in laws and regulations, monitoring compliance and noncompliance, and implementing corrective and disciplinary actions. Yet while many compliance professionals may assume that their actions are always compliant, who oversees those who are overseeing systems and organizations? Who ensures that compliance is compliant?
For the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), March is supposed to be a showcase of the best about college sports, and the ideals the NCAA claims up uphold. March is about student-athletes representing their schools, in a tournament full of upsets, uplifting stories, and some of the more dramatic moments in sports. However, this March, the spectacle of March Madness is overshadowed by headlines of criminal conduct, corruption, rules violations, and plenty of criticism for the NCAA. While many of these stories are just beginning to unfold, there are several ethical and compliance issues raised, which have application to all areas of compliance.