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complianceThe urgency for companies to maintain effective compliance programs has never been greater. Civil liability exists for boards of directors that fail to exercise appropriate oversight of compliance, while substantial benefits are afforded to companies that implement compliance programs deemed “effective.”

In its April 2019 Guidance Document entitled “Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) submits that its evaluation of compliance programs is premised on three questions: (1) Is the program well designed?; (2) Is the program implemented effectively?; and (3) Does the program work in practice? Positive answers to these questions could prompt DOJ to refrain from charging a company for unlawful conduct or to propose a settlement with penalties substantially reduced from what would be offered absent the existence of an effective program. Needless to say, any program deemed effective is a leading indicator that an appropriate “tone at the top” exists at the company.

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