Your ethics hotline will only be effective if employees and other stakeholders know about it and feel comfortable reporting misconduct.
Suppose building trust and awareness isn’t considered when rolling out your compliance program or whistleblower policy. In that case, it’s more likely that employees will ignore your internal hotline and opt not to disclose information or utilize other outlets such as regulators, media, or public disclosure.
Awareness is key to ensuring that your compliance hotline is a viable tool for your organization. One of the best ways to increase awareness is by using ethics compliance posters and graphics. It would be best to display this messaging throughout the workplace, print media, and virtual environments such as employee portals, websites, emails, and messaging platforms.
Below is a list of compliance program poster examples, websites, and best practices that will provide you with some ideas for designing and implementing your awareness campaign.
Ethics and Compliance Program Messaging Best Practices
- Include an attention-grabbing title or headline.
- Explain why it is important to your organization and what is expected
- Provide all of the channels for filing a report
- Reinforce that reports can be made anonymously
- Brand the poster
- Use a multi-channel awareness campaign (e.g., physical posters, website, and internal communication)
“Zero Tolerance for Fraud, Waste or Abuse
Improper business practices or unethical conduct by any employee or contractor will not be tolerated. We all must report any suspected violations. It is absolutely essential for the protection of our beneficiaries, our mission, and our organization.”
2. Penn State
Do the right thing. Report your concerns.
At Penn State, we believe our employees should be able to voice their concerns about workplace issues — financial matters such as fraud, theft of University assets, or conflicts of interest; and other misconduct or violations of University policy, including research compliance matters, discrimination, or athletics-compliance issues. With the independent Financial and Compliance Hotline and Website you can — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All reports can be anonymous so you can help to maintain an ethical workplace without fear of retaliation. If you witness questionable activity in the workplace, contact us.”
3. Wise Health System
It is everyone’s responsibility to report compliance violations.
IntegraReport is an anonymous hotline, offering an avenue for employees to report potential unethical or unacceptable behavior, activities that are contrary to our state values or that violate legal, professional or company policies.”
4. EPA Office of Inspector General
“Report Fraud Waste and Abuse
Theft and misuse of government property; Contract procurement and grant fraud; Mismanagement and waste of funds; Employee misconduct; Abuse of authority; Conflict of interest; Computer crimes. Also report: Workplace violence.”
“Call the Helpline to Report a Concern or Ask a Question
Speaking Up is the Right Thing to Do
Don’t stay silent when you see: Principles of business conduct violations; fraud, theft, or financial irregularities; illegal or unethical behavior; harassment, discrimination, or retaliation.”
6. New York City Bar
“The Ethics Hotline is operated and staffed by members of the Committee on Professional Ethics (the “Committee”). These volunteers respond to inquiries made by lawyers admitted in New York who face ethical questions regarding their own prospective conduct. The purpose of the Hotline is to provide informal guidance to callers in accordance with the New York Rules of Professional Conduct (the “New York Rules”). Any information provided in response to a Hotline inquiry is merely the opinion of the Committee member answering the call. It is not the opinion of the Committee as a whole. The information provided in response to a Hotline inquiry does not constitute legal advice. If the matter involves complex issues, or implicates a substantive area of law, you may wish to retain professional ethics counsel.
Callers should be aware of the following guidelines before calling the Ethics Hotline:
- The Hotline only provides guidance to lawyers admitted to practice in New York about the New York Rules.
- The Hotline only provides guidance concerning the caller’s own prospective conduct. We do not answer questions about past conduct or the conduct of other lawyers.
- The Hotline does not provide legal advice or answer questions of law.
- The Hotline does not answer questions about the unlicensed practice of law (UPL). UPL is governed by statutory law, not the New York Rules and is, therefore, outside the Committee’s jurisdiction.
- The Hotline provides general guidance. Due to the limited information we can obtain during a brief and informal telephone conversation, we cannot provide a definitive answer to Hotline questions.
- The Hotline does not answer questions that are the subject of a pending legal proceeding or are before a grievance committee.
- Although it is the Committee’s policy to maintain confidentiality of all Hotline inquiries, callers should be aware that the information is not protected by the attorney-client privilege or RPC 1.6.
- The Ethics Hotline does not respond to complaints or inquiries regarding unethical conduct of other lawyers. Any such complaints or inquiries should be addressed to the Grievance or Disciplinary Committee for the county in which the lawyer practices (see http://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/grievance/).
- Lawyers who call the Ethics Hotline are required to provide their full name and telephone numbers.”
7. Discovery, Inc.
“Discovery is committed to managing its business activities in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations and to ensuring honest and ethical behavior by its directors, officers, employees and contingent workers. To facilitate and encourage the prompt reporting of suspected events of non-compliance, and to provide employees and contingent workers with a confidential, anonymous, toll-free avenue for reporting suspected events of non-compliance, Discovery has established a toll-free Ethics Hotline, operated by a third-party provider, The Network.”
8. First Solar
“First Solar is committed to providing safe and reliable means for our associates and our business partners to report concerns they may have about conduct at First Solar. You can raise concerns confidentially and anonymously -if desired and permitted by applicable law- and free of any retaliation, discrimination, or harassment.
Whether you are an associate, an officer or director, or someone who does business with us, we ask that you bring to light good faith concerns regarding First’s Solar’s business practices.
We are all responsible for bringing up issues that need to be reported.
We have several different resources that you can report to: You can speak to your manager or reach to members of the HR department, the Ethics & Compliance Office, the Internal Audit team, or use our Ethics Hotline; see for further details our Policy on Compliance Reporting.
SPEAK UP WHEN YOU SEE:
ETHICS & COMPLIANCE VIOLATIONS. Ethics and Compliance violations are suspected actions or inactions that go against our Code of Conduct “Relentless Integrity: How we conduct business ethically” or any other First Solar policy or procedure.
FRAUD. Fraud can range from theft to sharing confidential information for personal benefit or reporting fraudulent financial information.
IMPROPER AUDITING AND ACCOUNTING. Improper Auditing and Accounting means any concerns related to accounting, violations of internal accounting controls, or any other auditing or financial matters.
PEOPLE CONCERNS. People Concerns include discrimination and harassment, abuse of benefits, and risks to associates’ health and safety.
Note: For issues such as payroll disputes or co-worker conflicts, please refer to your supervisor, a human resources representative, or the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).”
“Morningstar has established a confidential Ethics Hotline to report any complaints or concerns about ethics violations, including accounting irregularities, financial misstatements, problems with internal accounting controls, or non-compliance with external rules and regulations.
The Morningstar Ethics Hotline is operated by Global Compliance, an independent company that is not affiliated with Morningstar. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
“You may report any unlawful or unethical situation via Cerner’s Ethics Hotline, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The phone number (or website address, if applicable) for accessing the Ethics Hotline from your country can be found below. Cerner’s Ethics Hotline is confidential, except as needed to conduct a full, fair investigation. You may remain anonymous if you choose, except where restricted by local law. Due to local privacy laws in certain countries and the European Union, the Ethics Hotline may permit only specific types of calls, such as financial, accounting, auditing, and bribery-related offenses or offenses committed by company executives or persons with a management role. In those countries, contact an HR Partner (only for Cerner associates) or the Cerner Legal Group (for any others) to report other issues. All reports of unlawful or unethical conduct will be investigated promptly.”
Get Help With Your Ethics Hotline Program
Need assistance setting up your ethics hotline? We offer an affordable, multi-channel (phone and web-based) ethics hotline service that provides an easy, anonymous reporting solution for businesses seeking to enhance their compliance programs. Contact us today to learn more.