Business Ethics and Corporate Culture

UK Calls for “Tighter” SFO Settlement Agreements Following “Foot Dragging”

Earlier this week, the U.K.’s International Development Committee (IDC) released a report requesting that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) write future settlement agreements “more tightly” so that companies follow them more closely. The report also asked the SFO to release an annual report reviewing their plan to combat international corruption. The report is the result of a hearing held earlier this year regarding failures by BAE Systems (BAE) to adhere to its corruption settlement. The report included harsh criticism for the way BAE has handled the implementation of its agreement and asked that future settlements explicitly state what efforts a company is required to undertake and by what time.
Wall Street Journal: UK Report Calls For Tight SFO Settlements/Anti-Corruption Reports. (29 November 2011)
(Source: Wall Street Journal)

New Insider Trading Charges Expected in Hedge Fund Probe

According to sources familiar with the investigation, the federal government is poised to bring new charges in its widespread investigation into insider trading practices. The charges in this instance will reportedly be brought against individuals from two hedge funds, Diamondback Capital Management (Diamondback) and Level Global Investors (Level Global). Both hedge funds were raided by the government late last year. The government’s investigation into Diamondback and Level Global stemmed from its inquiry into Primary Global Research (Primary). Numerous individuals associated with Primary have been convicted or pled guilty to leaking confidential information to hedge fund traders.
New York Times: New Round of Insider Trading Charges Is Expected (30 November 2011)
(Source: New York Times)

Facebook and FTC Announce Settlement of Privacy Issues

Earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced its proposed settlement with Facebook over what it termed “unfair and deceptive” business practices. As part of its agreement with the FTC, Facebook must collect users’ permission before making any changes to privacy settings and must also undergo annual consumer privacy audits over the next 20 years. The FTC’ settlement stems largely from changes Facebook made to its privacy procedures in 2009. Among other things, Facebook allegedly publicized information that users had set as private without any notice to the users. The FTC did not impose any fines but Facebook will be forced to pay $16,000 a day for any future violations.
New York Times: F.T.C. Settles Privacy Issue at Facebook (29 November 2011)
(Source: New York Times)

Women Need Women to Take Risks: Study
Asia Pacific

The Australian reports that new research from the Australian National University (ANU) reveals that women are “more likely to take career risks when they are surrounded and supported by other women”. ANU Professor Alison Booth reportedly said that women were less likely to make risky career choices than men, possibly as a result of culturally-driven inhibitions, but that “these inhibitions are reduced in an all-female environment”. The study will reportedly have implications for the labour market and will help to build an understanding of women’s reluctance to accept positions with performance-based pay incentives.
The Australian: Risky business kept among women, study finds (29 November 2011)
(Source: The Australian)

Sexual Harassment Recognised as Workplace Injury
Asia Pacific

The Korea Herald reports that Korea Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Services has acknowledged sexual harassment as a workplace injury, compensating a female worker who was the victim of repeated sexual harassment nine million won (US$7,725) in treatment expenses for her industrial injuries. Two male officials responsible for the harassment were reportedly ordered to pay medical expenses and compensation for the woman’s insomnia, depression and anxiety.
The Korea Herald: Sexual harassment recognized as work-related injury for first time (27 November 2011)
(Source: The Korea Herald)