Trump Win=Ethics Unchained?

By Bill Wright

Imagine a corporate code of ethics that stated explicitly the company would not punish any employee for providing company information to the SEC, OFCCP, EEOC or NLRB. Imagine that every waiver agreement included the provision that the former employee could still volunteer company documents to the SEC and vie for a Dodd-Frank whistleblower bounty even though the employee had waived all claims.  These are recent hot enforcement topics for government agencies, and this is where corporate compliance programs were headed, until Election Day.

DJ Trump has frequently stated that he intends to undo the Dodd-Frank Act. It isn’t clear what that would mean.  The details of Dodd-Frank are now built into the culture of many financial institutions, and it will take a generation of corporate managers to really get back to an older style of business as usual.  However, DJ’s antipathy toward regulation might at least slow the advance of executive-branch regulation.  Corporate codes of ethics will still be necessary to create hoped-for defenses under federal sentencing guidelines and they will remain the love children of business ethics gurus, but the grip of fear that the code might actually aid government regulators has eased.