CODE OF ETHICS POLICY
Updated March 2023
Our professional code of ethics policy aims to give our employees guidelines on our business ethics and stance on various controversial matters. We trust you to use your better judgment, but we want to provide you with a concrete guide you can fall back on if you are unsure about how you should act (e.g., in cases of conflict of interest). We will also use this policy to outline the consequences of violating our business code of ethics.
Scope of this policy
This policy applies to everyone we employ or have business relations with. This includes individual people such as employees, interns, volunteers, but also business entities, such as vendors, enterprise customers or venture capital companies.
Note that our code of ethics is slightly different than our code of conduct. Code of conduct may include elements such as dress code and social media use, whilst our code of professional ethics refers to legally or morally charged issues. Still, these two codes do overlap.
What is meant by code of professional ethics?
First, let us define professional ethics: they are a set of principles that guide the behaviour of people in a business context. They are essential to maintaining the legality of business and a healthy workplace.
So, what is a code of ethics? Our code of ethics definition refers to the standards that apply to a specific setting – in this case, our own organisation.
What is the purpose of a professional code of ethics?
Having our business ethics in writing does not mean that we do not trust our employees. We strive to hire ethical people who have their own personal standards, so we expect that a written code will not be necessary most of the time.
But it can still be helpful. You may find yourself in a situation where you are not sure how you should act. Life is full of grey areas where right and wrong are not so apparent. Some professional ethics also correspond to laws that you absolutely must know to do your job properly, so we will mention them in our code of ethics.
Additionally, every organisation makes bad hires occasionally. We also cannot predict how people are going to behave. When an employee behaves, or intents to behave, in a way that is against our professional ethics, or applicable laws, we will have clear guidelines on what disciplinary actions we will consider.
For these reasons, we advise you to read this document carefully and consult with your manager or HR, if you have doubts or questions.
The components of our code of professional ethics:
We base our business code of ethics on common principles of ethics:
● Respect for others. Treat people as you want to be treated.
● Honesty and Integrity Tell the truth and avoid any wrongdoing to the best of your ability.
● Loyalty. Remain faithful to business partners, colleagues and clients.
● Conflicts of Interest Think about your decision and challenge who it will benefit.
● Justice. Make sure you are objective and fair and do not disadvantage others.
● Lawfulness. Know and follow the law – always.
● Responsibility and accountability. Work hard and be responsible for your work.
● Compassion. Be kind and considerate.
● Environmental consciousness. Think about negative impacts on the environment.
● Teamwork. Collaborate and ask for help.
Here is a more detailed overview of our code:
Respect for others
It is mandatory to respect everyone you interact with. Be kind, polite and understanding.
You must respect others’ personal space, opinions and privacy. Any kind of violence is strictly prohibited and will result in immediate termination. You are also not allowed to harass or victimize others.
What constitutes harassment or victimisation? To answer this, we have a policy on Anti-harassment and Bullying you can take a look at. As a rule, try to put yourself in someone else’s place. How would you feel if someone behaved a specific way to you?
If the answer is “I wouldn’t like it much” or “I would never let them behave like that to me,” then we do not tolerate this behaviour no matter the person it comes from.
If someone, be it customer, colleague or stakeholder, is offensive, demeaning or threatening toward you or someone you know, report them immediately to HR or your manager. You can also report rudeness and dismissiveness if they become excessive or frequent.
Honest and Integrity
First, always keep in mind our organisation’s mission. We all work together to achieve specific outcomes. Your behaviour should contribute to our goals, whether financial or organisational.
Be honest and transparent when you act in ways that impact other people (e.g., taking strategic decisions or deciding on redundancies). We do not tolerate malicious, deceitful or petty conduct. Lies and cheating are huge red flags and, if you’re discovered, you may face progressive discipline or immediate termination depending on the damage you did.
Stealing from the company or other people is illegal. If you are caught, you will face repercussions depending on the severity of your actions. For example, if you steal office supplies, you may receive a reprimand or demotion (at a minimum), while if you steal money or data (e.g., engaging in fraud or embezzlement), you will get dismissed and face legal consequences. The decision is at HR’s discretion on a case-by-case basis.
Corruption and bribery are also not tolerated by our organisation, with further information available in the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy, and the Charitable and Political donations policy (HR-05). Celtic & Co. will also commit to publicly disclose any financial and in-kind contributions on the company’s website.
Remaining faithful to business partners, coworkers and clients to demonstrate your commitment.
You can develop lasting partnerships and a firm foundation for future success when you prove your alliance and honour these agreements.
This can extend to maintaining relationships with suppliers, sharing a promotion opportunity with coworkers in your department or honouring financial commitments to the community.
Conflict of interest
Conflict of interest may occur whenever your interest in a particular subject leads you to actions, activities or relationships that undermine our company. This includes situations like using your position’s authority for your own personal gain or exploiting company resources to support a personal money-making business. Even when you seemingly act to the company’s advantage, you may disadvantage it. For example, if an employee uses dubious methods to get competitor intel and raise their sales record, their action will have a positive impact on the company’s revenue, but it will put us at a legal risk and promote unhealthy business practices.
If it turns out you have created a conflict of interest for yourself, your employment will be terminated. If the conflict of interest was involuntary (e.g., buying stocks from a company without knowing they are a competitor), we will take actions to rectify the situation. If you repeat the offence, your employment may be terminated.
Do not act in a way that exploits others, their hard work, or their mistakes. Give everyone equal opportunity and speak up when someone else does not.
Be objective when making decisions that can impact other people, including when you are deciding to hire, promote or make someone redundant. Be sure that you can justify any decision with written records or examples. Seek and use the most objective methods in any case; for example, when interviewing candidates, ask the same interview questions to all of them and avoid judging non-job-related criteria, like dress, appearance, etc.
Also, do not discriminate against people with protected characteristics. If you suspect you may have an unconscious bias that influences your decisions ask for help from HR.
When exercising authority, be fair. Do not show favouritism toward specific employees and be transparent when you decide to praise or reward an employee.
If you need to discipline an employee, be sure to have prepared a case that you can present to HR. You must not retaliate against employees or applicants (such as in cases when they’ve filed complaints) as this is against our code of ethics.
Be fair toward customers or vendors, too. If you think our company was in the wrong in a specific instance, do not try to cover it up or accuse the other side. Discuss with your manager to find solutions that can benefit both sides.
You are obliged to follow all laws which apply to our organisation. Depending on your role and profession, there might be various laws you need to observe. For example, accountants and medical professionals have their own legal restrictions and they must be fully aware of them.
When you are preparing contracts, clauses, disclaimers or online copy that may be governed by law (such as consent forms), please refer this to HR.
You’re also covered by our confidentiality and data protection policy. You must not expose, disclose or endanger information of customers, employees, stakeholders or our business. Following laws regarding fraud, bribery, corruption and any kind of assault is a given. You are also obliged to follow laws on child labour and avoid doing business with unlawful organisations. If you are not sure what the law is in a specific instance, do not hesitate to ask HR.
Responsibility and accountability
We all need to put a healthy amount of effort in our work. Not just because we are all responsible for the organisation’s success, but also because ‘slacking off’ affects our colleagues. Incomplete or slow working might hinder other people’s work or cause them to shoulder the burden themselves. This comes in direct conflict with our respect and integrity principles.
We also expect you to accept opportunities for learning and development, either on-the-job or via educational material or training. If you are unsure how you can achieve this, have an open discussion with your manager.
Also, take responsibility for your actions. We all make mistakes or need to make tough decisions and it is important we own up to them. Failing to be accountable on a regular basis or in important situations (e.g., a crucial mistake in our financial records) will result in disciplinary action. If you take responsibility and produce ways to fix your mistakes where possible, you will be in a far better position.
People who display compassion genuinely care about the wellbeing of others.
In business, compassion can mean that organisations increase involvement in charitable causes and interpersonal interactions between colleagues. It involves taking the time to understand the thoughts and feelings of another person.
People often want to work in an environment where they feel valued and cared for and do business with companies that display compassion towards consumers and the community.
The world would be a better place if more people showed compassion by kind and thoughtful gestures. These can range from a packet of sweets to cheer someone up who is having a bad day, to offering help with someone’s shopping after they have had an operation that affects their mobility, or offering friendship to someone who struggles with social interaction.
The global climate crisis remains a focus for business owners, employees and clients.
Ethical business practices include making choices to limit or reduce our negative impact on the environment such as:
• Reducing carbon emissions from transportation and factories
• Limiting waste production
• Encouraging Energy saving practices
• Creating more sustainable, cost saving strategies
Look around your working or personal environment and think ‘how is what I am doing impacting on the environment’, and what can I do to improve the situation.
We all have a responsibility to reduce our impact on the environment, and we are all guilty of forgetting to turn a light off every now and again, but if we can all improve a little bit, then the environment will improve a lot!
Working well with others is a virtue, rather than an obligation. You will certainly get to work autonomously and be focused on your own projects and responsibilities. But you should also be ready to collaborate with and help others.
Be generous with your expertise and knowledge. Be open to learning and evolving. If days go by without you consulting or brainstorming with anyone, you are missing opportunities for excellence. Instead, work with others and do not hesitate to ask for help when you need it.