Compliance professionals must deal with an enormous variety of tasks and duties. From managing the supply chain to dealing with state and federal regulators to listening to the concerns of employees who could be potential whistleblowers, the challenges are difficult and varied. The best a compliance department can do is be informed: about new laws, regulation and trends. Of course, it helps if a company is committed to a culture of compliance which it properly funds. In this way, it can: root out supply chain problems, like those faced by Apple; deal with state attorneys general, like Nevada’s Catherine Cortez Masto; and handle potential whistleblower cases before they become a federal matter.
Check out the slides for summaries of the biggest compliance stories of the past few weeks, and click on the links for more information!
The benefits of fully funded compliance departments
In tough economic times, just about every department in a large company has to face the reality of budget cuts. But compliance professionals know that if their funds get slashed, there can be serious consequences. Now they have more than anecdotal evidence to back that up, as a new survey from Cipperman Compliance Services reveals that spending too little on compliance can have severe ramifications. The study notes that only 6 percent of companies surveyed spend at least 5 percent of revenue on compliance, and some experts recommend spending at least 7 percent on operating costs on these essential efforts.
More supply chain woes for Apple
There were certainly some bruises on Apple when a 2012 New York Times article unveiled labor violations in the tech giant’s Chinese suppliers. The iPhone manufacturer vowed not to let a few bad apples spoil the bunch, and launched an evaluation of its supply chain. Apparently, a few worms slipped by them, though, as an August report from the Fair Labor Association revealed that two Chinese facilities operated by Quanta Computer had violated a number of labor and employment and health and safety violations. Representatives from Apple vowed to work closely with Quanta in order to remidiate such issues along the supply chain.
Wherefore art thou a whistleblower?
Of course, compliance professionals hope that their internal reporting structures are robust enough that employees feel confident enough to discuss potential wrongdoing without the risk of retaliation. But, according to Vince McKnight, partner in the whistleblower practice at Sanford Heisler, internal reporting often does lead to retaliation or cover-ups, so potential whistleblowers need another strategy when they suspect wrongdoing. McKnight and Ross Brooks, also of Sanford Heisler, explain how they suss out if a potential whistleblower case has merit, whether he or she will make a strong witness, how to interface with federal regulators, and other aspects of building a whistleblower case.
The ABCs of AGs
While compliance professionals have a full plate on their hands, it’s clear that state attorneys general’s plates are overflowing. They deal with a number of issues within their states, but also interfacing with other states as well as federal regulators. Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto knows all about those challenges, working alongside other state AGs on important matters ranging from consumer protection to human trafficking, and interacting with federal regulators on a regular basis, considering that 80 percent of Nevada’s land is owned by the federal government. Masto will be speaking at the upcoming Women, Influence & Power in Law Conference in Washington, DC, about how she works with federal regulators.
The Women, Influence & Power in Law conference offers an opportunity for unprecedented exchange with women inside and outside counsel. The event runs from Sept. 17-19 and is being held at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C.