Corporate Compliance

Tip: Adhere to U.S. sentencing guidelines

Compliance Monitor, April 7, 2010

In 2004, the U.S. Sentencing Commission revised guidelines created in 1991 that established sentencing rules and penalties on organizations rather than individuals. In 1991, sentencing depended on the organization’s size, the nature of the crime, how the organization discovered the crime, and how the organization handled the problem.

The 2004 revisions included guidelines to toughen the criteria for effective compliance and ethics programs. To comply with these guidelines, members of the organization should:

  • Be knowledgeable about the content and operation of its compliance program 
  • Exercise reasonable oversight of the program’s implementation and effectiveness, including resource allocation
  • Designate high-level personnel to be directly responsibility for ensuring the program’s implementation and effectiveness
  • Provide sufficient resources to personnel responsible for the compliance program
  • Create effective training programs for the governing authority, leadership, employees, and agents, as appropriate
  • Audit and monitor its programs for effectiveness and should conduct ongoing risk assessments to refine the program and reduce the risk of violations
  • Maintain a method for anonymous reporting, such as a hotline
  • Adopt appropriate incentives and disciplinary measures to ensure reporting of violations, compliance, and correction of violations

This week’s tip was adapted from The Compliance Officer’s Handbook. For more information about the book or to order your copy, visit the HCMarketplace.

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