I’m looking at the Company in the Mirror:

I’m Looking at the Company in the Mirror:

If You Wanna Make Your Company a Better Place Take a Look at that Code and Make that Change

When considering the effectiveness of your company’s code of conduct it is important to pay close attention to how the leading companies in the world handle the important task of outlining the message they wish to portray via their code. April 2017 brings Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, wherein leading application and software engineers will gather to discuss new and emerging technology that will be available on the world’s most giant social media platform. Not surprisingly, in the past this event has been filled with rumors of misogyny and perversion among the largely male crowd.

As a means of combatting unethical and illegal behavior Facebook has published a special code of conduct for the 2017 F8 show on the conference webpage. Among the behavior Facebook lists as prohibited includes the following:

  • Derogatory or insensitive jokes, pranks, or comments
  • Slurs or epithets
  • Unwelcome sexual advances or invitations
  • Leering or offensive gestures, or unwelcome touching
  • Ridiculing or demeaning comments
  • Harassing photography or recording
  • Heckling, or disrupting speakers
  • Displaying or sharing images that are derogatory or sexually-oriented
  • Making offensive comments about people’s bodies or appearance

While it seems sad that Facebook feels the need to institute a “no jerks allowed” policy into its conference code of conduct, it is refreshing to see that the company has taken note of prior complaints and is attempting to address them in advance, rather than issue formal apologies after the fact. All companies can take note of this forward thinking in their ethics practices, and can learn a lot from Facebook’s desire to be a proponent of ethical conduct at events it sponsors.

Facebook ends its code of conduct by acknowledging that its list is non-exhaustive and that attendees are urged to use their best judgment. This call to professionalism is a hallmark of quality codes of conduct, and although this particular document is targeted at attendees to this specific event, the detail with which it was prepared and the forward thinking employed are admirable.

When formulating your company’s code of conduct it is important to consider not just the legal and compliance issues you feel may arise, but also the image you wish to project. After all, your code of conduct is a statement of company values and a demonstration of why you feel it is essential that your employees adhere to the standards you set forth.  We strongly suggest your company take a page out of Facebook’s playbook and consider your audience when developing or revising your company code of conduct.


Syntrio is a leader in both the ethics and compliance field, as well as human resources and employment law, and is prepared to help your company implement a compliance program aimed at reducing the potential impact of compliance violations within the organization. Syntrio takes an innovative philosophy towards compliance program design and strives to engineer engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking content. Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our ethics and code of conduct online courses and remember to follow us on Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance that impact your company!


Written by Jonathan Gonzalez, Esq., Chief Counsel for Syntrio.

Posted in Code of Conduct, Compliance Training, Custom Courses, Managing Within the Law, Sexual Harassment and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .