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Westpac Code Of Ethics Assignment

Question

Task: You are required to research recent news articles and other information about Westpac Bank.
Here is an example of a recent news article describing some of the corporate governance issues at
Westpac Bank:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-27/why-heads-are-rolling-at-another-big-australianbank-quicktake
You must then draft a Code of Ethics for Westpac Bank

Answer

Introduction
The concept of code of conduct or code of ethics explored in this code of ethics assignment means the actions of an employee and the manner in which they should implement the code. This means that code of conduct is a subset of code of ethics and it can be applied in real life especially at workplaces. It lays the rules and general principles that shall guide the behaviour of the employees within an organisation. The purpose of this code is to ensure that employees abide by their ethical premises when conducting any action in the organisation. If the organisation is committed to the perseveration of the environment then the code will explain the manner in which the employees are expected to conduct their behaviour. For example, no employee should pass any comment to other members based on their sex, religion, region, race or colour. It shall become a discriminatory in nature and offending the code of ethics. The code of conduct will give the application to the ethics in different situations. For example, let us say that there is a rule which states that all employees should obey the law at all times. This is a much generalised statement and a person knows that this can be applied to many other situations. The code of conduct in such situations will make any particular rule applicable depending on the case situation of code of ethics assignment (Boddington 2017).

Discrimination:
The term “Discrimination” mentioned in the code of ethics assignment is the unfair treatment of employees that is dependent on prejudices. There are many types of discrimination at work such as equal pay compensation, origin, nationality, pregnancy, religion, disability, race and sex (Tavani 2016).

Discrimination: Code of Ethics
The employees of Westpac are expected to behave in the following ways mentioned in this code of ethics assignment during the course of their employment:

  • No employee should comment other employee about his sexual appeal or any other comment that is of the same nature. Men and women are expected to act in a reasonable manner while at work. Employees are not to ask for favours from one another based on their advantageous position at work. No beating and hitting one another in an inappropriate manner while at work.
  • All employees who are part of Westpac should be treated equally and no one should be discarded of any opportunity based on their race, colour, creed, region or religion. Opportunities at work should be purely on work quality and based on work credibility.
  • All employees at Westpac are expected to treat each other equally and no discriminatory remarks should be made on the grounds of sex, equal pay compensation, origin, nationality, pregnancy, religion, disability, race and sex.

Exploitation
Exploitation: Discussion
This means an act at workplace as per which the resources are used or treated in an unfair manner so that they could benefit from the efforts of labour of the other. It also includes taking undue advantage of the other person who is need of job and paying less amount of compensation for their work performance. Illegal exploitation is when the employer oversteps the legal protections that should be given to the employee (Adelstein and Clegg 2016).

Exploitation: Code of Ethics
None of the employees working at Westpac should exploit another employee or if employees see or doubt or encounter any of the following situations discussed in this code of ethics assignment they should immediately report to their respective managers:

  • None of the employees are to work overtime on the demand of their manager or team leader unless an official notice for overtime work is published on the company’s website
  • None of the employees in Westpac are to be exploited for their looks in both positive and negative manner. Please note that this rule is not limited only to women
  • Sexual harassment is a big No for Westpac and any type of unwelcome behaviour, which can make the other person feel intimidated, humiliated or offended, should be restricted.
  • None of the employees should be pressurised, in the case of pregnant women and men, from not taking their leaves due to work pressure.
  • None of the employees should be subjected to inadequate compensation as this is least kind of exploitation at workplace. All kind of internships should be paid and no gender gap should be evident at workplace.

Corruption
Corruption- Discussion:
This is a simple, illegal way of people, who are in a higher position to engage in fraudulent activities such as take undue position of their position or some other fraudulent activity. In this code of ethics assignment, it also includes taking bribes or accepting gifts from other employees. Corruption in the workplace has become a very important issue of concern that has become a problematic situation in the delivery of services within the organisation in a proper manner. It has impacted the performance and other profits of the organisation in an abundant way (Kaplan et al. 2017).

Corruption: Code of Ethics
As evident in the code of ethics assignment, the employees of Westpac are prohibited from giving, promising or making any offer to someone of anything that has value to any person with the intention of influencing their act, decision or when making any other interaction with other officials.

The prohibition has been applied to indirect corruption as well. This includes actions that are carried by third party in the name of the organisation.

The term not anything of value is limited to

  • Cash
  • Gifts
  • Travel fees
  • Employment offers
  • Loans
  • Contributions
  • Any other transfer

The above-mentioned policies provided within this code of ethics assignment are not exhaustive in nature and it addresses similar kind of situations if they take place within Westpac. If there any action that has not been covered as part of the corruption code or if there is any confusion regarding the understanding of the said policy, then the employee should immediately consult his legal manager or any other manager of legal or business department.

Dishonest and Fraudulent Behaviour:-
Dishonest and Fraudulent Behaviour- Discussion
Any type of fraudulent or dishonest conduct means criminal actions that are subject to prosecution as part of law. The organisation should safeguard its reputation and assets from theft or misappropriation. When a person refers to fraud within the workplace then it includes a scenario in which dishonest activity has been done that caused loss of some other problem to the organisation at large. It can include issues pertaining to money, property, documentation and other information usage in an inappropriate manner (Lang et al 2018).

Dishonest and Fraudulent Behaviour: Code of Ethics
A deliberate dishonest or fraudulent behaviour would include an act in which the intention of taking unauthorised object or benefit is clear. Examples of such behaviour that would lead to dishonest or fraudulent actions are provided in the following section of code of ethics assignment:

  • Financial instability such as creating false statement or removal of any information that is related to financial transaction and are also detrimental to the interests of Westpac
  • Alteration of documents will be reported to the concerned authority that may also include forgery
  • Unauthorised manipulation of computer data and files
  • Financial reporting which is fraudulent in nature
  • Misuse of office materials and resources such as funds, supplies, equipments and other assets
  • Receiving compensation or other benefits from any person which is not part of the company’s transaction
  • Any irregularity in managing the funds of the company
  • Other acts or misues

The above-mentioned policies discussed within this code of ethics assignment are not exhaustive in nature and it addresses similar kind of situations if they take place within Westpac. If there any action that has not been covered as part of the dishonest or fraudulent code or if there is any confusion regarding the understanding of the said policy, then the employee should immediately consult his legal manager or any other manager of legal or business department

Whistle-blower Protections:-
Whistleblower Protections – Discussion
As per the investigation conducted on this code of ethics assignment, the whistle blower protection includes criminal acts and other civil penalties for a person who has been threatening to cause disadvantage to a person who is a whistleblower or breaching the confidentiality of the whistleblower. This can happen as part of the investigation or any other concern of the whistleblower (Moraga et al. 2018).

Whistle-blower Protection: Code of Ethics

  • The federal law of Australia prevents companies from taking any legal action when they fail to act in accordance with the rules of the company. In such a situation, the company needs to abide by the federal laws of the land. In such a scenario, a company cannot discharge, remove, demote or suspend any of the employees if they can acted in a manner which is unlawful.
  • Any employee who has knowledge regarding the existence of any kind of violation or some other violation which is suspected, the person has the duty to report any such violation or suspected action.
  • Employees are encouraged to raise any issue or concerns regarding the business or functioning of the company.
  • Failure to report such incidents or actual violation may subject the employee to some disciplinary action and it may also lead to termination of the employment.
  • The company will keep the details and other identity of the person who reported the violation confidential
  • If situation demands, the whistleblower may also receive legal protection too
  • Employees can mention their contact details when reporting any event or action against the violation
  • The Corporate Governance officer shall ensure that there is no confidentiality and integrity maintained in the report
  • The company however does not guarantee any employee confidentiality especially in those cases when there is any other federal law is involved.

Enforcement
The following questions and answers provided in the code of ethics assignment shall address the implementation of the code in Westpac. The company has formed the procedures so that confidentiality and integrity is maintained within the organisation. The company also aims in providing freedom of retaliation so that the employee does not violate any rule under the code

Who is the person responsible for enforcing, updating and monitoring the code?
The board has managed to appoint a compliance officer who will be taking care of the code and its implementation. It is the responibilty of the board to make sure that the compliance officer and the compliance committee is fulfilling their responsibilities in a proper manner

How can employees reach out to the Compliance officer?
The contact details of the officer shall be available online and the same will be listed below as well. Any one of these persons will be available to help you and will also help you in answering your queries regarding the code of conduct

Name : Mr XYZ

Contact number – 1234567

Gmail Id: xyz@gmail.com

How to deliver the code to the employees?
The ways in which employees can be made aware of the code are presented in the next section of code of ethics assignment:

As part of the induction training: in this training, the employers and the employees get a chance to review and understand each other well. As part of this training, it is stated in this code of ethics assignment that the code of conduct can be introduced and the training can be provided on that

One on one training: The manager, team leader or some other member of the company can work through the code and make the requirements clear with the ongoing employees

Other training courses: with the help of online training, the code can be easily introduced. A separate course can be provided for abiding the code of conduct.

Understanding the code:
As mentioned in this code of ethics assignment, it is important to receive regular feedback from the employees to make sure that they have understood the code and they also know what is expected from them in a proper manner. If do not understand what is expected from them in a proper manner, a training for the same can be included such physically showing them the designated smoking areas, showing examples of websites that are inappropriate etc.

Accepting the code:
Acceptance of the code can be done when the employees sign a document in which they are ready to follow the code of conduct. This helps in reducing the conflict when an employee actually violates the code, they are well aware that a disciplinary action can be taken against them.

References:
Adelstein, J. and Clegg, S., 2016. Code of ethics: A stratified vehicle for compliance. Journal of Business Ethics, 138(1), pp.53-66.

Boddington, P., 2017. Towards a code of ethics for artificial intelligence. Springer International Publishing.

Kaplan, D.M., Francis, P.C., Hermann, M.A., Baca, J.V., Goodnough, G.E., Hodges, S., Spurgeon, S.L. and Wade, M.E., 2017. New concepts in the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics. Journal of Counseling & Development, 95(1), pp.110-120.

Lang, C., Macfadyen, L.P., Slade, S., Prinsloo, P. and Sclater, N., 2018, March. The complexities of developing a personal code of ethics for learning analytics practitioners: Implications for institutions and the field. Code of ethics assignment In Proceedings of the 8th international conference on learning analytics and knowledge (pp. 436-440).

Moraga, M.Á., García?Rodríguez de Guzmán, I., Calero, C., Johann, T., Me, G., Münzel, H. and Kindelsberger, J., 2017. GreCo: Green code of ethics. Journal of Software: Evolution and process, 29(2), p.e1850.

Tavani, H.T., 2016. Ethics and technology. Wiley.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-27/why-heads-are-rolling-at-another-big-australian-

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