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Ethics policy: Vendor relationships

Originally Published:
Jul 2016

This policy spells out what IT employees should and shouldn’t do when dealing with vendors and suppliers. It covers everything from record keeping to conflicts of interest to gifts and gratuities.

From the policy:

Objective
The purpose of these guidelines is to give IT employees who have relationships with suppliers and vendors a clear understanding of their obligations and responsibilities. Suppliers and vendors are vital to the success of the organization, and the delivery and maintenance of their products and services affects everyone. Vendors who demonstrate dedication to customer satisfaction, cost effectiveness, quality, and innovation are those the organization will strive to engage.

Standards for conduct
Any short-term benefit gained by unethical conduct will be offset by the long-term harm that such actions bring. Employees will maintain exemplary ethical standards in all dealings with suppliers and vendors and will refer to this policy if they have questions or concerns about employee-vendor relationships.

Obeying the law
Employees will conduct business in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. However, compliance with the law does not comprise the entirety of ethical responsibility. Compliance with the law defines the minimum, absolutely essential performance of duties.

Record keeping
Employees must maintain accurate and complete company records. Transactions between the company and outside individuals and organizations must be promptly and accurately recorded in accordance with established procedures.

Honesty and integrity
When dealing with vendors, employees are expected to be as truthful and candid as possible. Employees will never deliberately mislead vendors and will openly and freely share information that is appropriate to the relationship. Employees will never use deception or coercion to achieve an unfair competitive advantage.

Competition
While employees are wise to form strong relationships with vendors, keep in mind that vendors and suppliers are first concerned with their own interests. Unless protected by a confidentiality agreement, contract, or nondisclosure agreement, any information a vendor or supplier gains from the organization could potentially be used by the vendor or supplier with other customers, including our competitors. Comparisons between our organization and our competitors shall be based on fair and honest information. Employees must refrain from making disparaging comments about the products, services, or employees of competitors.

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