Every FCPA conviction of an individual is a personal tragedy, resulting in losses of freedom, jobs, and reputations, and there’s often financial ruin and damage to families.
A reader, responding to our post Playing Chicken With The Rule Of Law, put it this way:
Second chances do not exist for people convicted of FCPA violations. No matter how much one may admit, cooperate or plead, they will never have a second chance. They are labeled forever. Conviction of an FCPA crime is a federal felony. It can never be expunged.
In these days of the Internet, no one who has been convicted can put it behind them and seek to re-enter a business career. Potential employers check and identify individual criminal histories with a click of the mouse.
No second chances allowed.
It’s sad. And it’s why employers should do whatever they can to help workers avoid FCPA problems.
A few years ago we said when the rules against bribing foreign officials on company time are clear, life is simpler and a lot safer. Employees sometimes assume a compliance program is just another way to punish hapless workers. Not true. A compliance program is for everyone’s protection. Employees should be grateful for bosses who want to stay on the right side of the law.
Companies that ignore compliance or settle for slipshod programs put themselves and their employees at great risk. Without clear lines, workers naturally become confused. They might think a well-placed bribe to help the company will enhance their careers. Imagine their surprise and horror when the company fires them, as it must, and helps the DOJ prosecute them for a crime that carries a possible five-year prison term.
Companies that respect their employees will give them a safe workplace by having an effective FCPA compliance program. And that’s within easy reach of any organization that wants to comply.