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Code Of Ethics Guide

A Sample Guide Developed by the USDOT/ AGC / ARTBA / AASHTO Suspension & Debarment Work Group

Elements of a Code of Business Ethics

A Code of Business Ethics is an open disclosure of the way an organization operates and provides visible guidelines for behavior. It serves as an important communication vehicle to the company's employees, customers, subcontractors, and the community at large that the organization is committed to the highest ethical standards of conduct in its operations. Additionally, a Code of Business Ethics is intended to promote ethical and law-abiding conduct within an organization and clearly communicate to employees what is expected of them and the consequences for violations. The following are a few of the elements an effective Code of Business Ethics should have:

  • Commitment by the organization's directors and top management to abiding by the Code and also ensuring that all employees are aware of and abide by the Code
  • Applicability to all levels of the organization
  • A letter from the President or Chief Executive of the organization communicating what the Code is and the organization's commitment to following the Code
  • A table of contents so that employees will be able to easily find the organization's policy for a specific issue
  • A statement of policy concerning the Code and the general rules that apply to the Code
  • Standards of Conduct that communicate what issues employees should be aware of and what to do whenever confronted with any such issue
  • A statement requiring employees to report suspected violations and to cooperate with the implementation of the Code
  • A statement that clearly communicates the consequences for Code violations
Updated: 06/27/2017
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000