Compliance and Ethics in Review: September 12, 2018

The Latest and Greatest Industry News

Microsoft leads the way on contractor benefits, Nike’s bold marketing move, the importance of voting, and more.

Each week, Convercent highlights some of the top stories and most newsworthy events in the ethics and compliance industry. The focus is global, but you might be surprised by how relevant these stories are, both across borders and businesses.

BA Hack Leaves Airline Open to Fines Under Tough Data Rules

British Airways could be the first large, well-known company to run afoul of GDPR requirements.

For more than two weeks during August and September, hackers compromised credit card data and other personal information of more than 380,000 customers. Regulators haven’t levied fines yet, but if their investigation concludes that the airline didn’t take adequate data security measures, a fine could follow.

Will Others Follow Microsoft’s Lead on Paid Parental Leave?

Near the end of August 2018, Microsoft made a groundbreaking decision: Companies who supply the tech giant with subcontractors must provide 12 weeks of paid parental leave. This includes custodial, IT, and thousands of other contracted personnel, but does not apply to individuals who have direct contracts with Microsoft. It’s an important conversation that will be interesting to follow, especially as U.S.-based companies continue to receive attention for lack of leave policies and other worker benefits.

According to a statement released by Microsoft, “This change applies to all parents employed by our suppliers who take time off for the birth or adoption of a child. The new policy applies to suppliers with more than 50 employees and covers supplier employees who perform substantial work for Microsoft.”

Nike sales surge despite storm over Colin Kaepernick’s “Just Do It” ad

By now, most of us have seen (or at least heard about) Nike’s controversial ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback who made waves for kneeling during the national anthem to bring attention to racial injustice in the U.S. The ad alienated some customers, but others have wholeheartedly supported the initiative. Shares fell, but Nike’s online sales jumped 31% from September 2 through 4 (nearly double the company’s sales during same period one year ago).

It’s yet another example of how corporate social responsibility can lead to increased profits, though the decision was certainly not without risk.

Levi Strauss CEO: Why Business Leaders Need to Take a Stand on Gun Violence

In 2016, Chip Bergh (CEO of Levi Strauss & Co.), published an open letter with one request for customers: refrain from bringing firearms into the company’s stores, offices, and other facilities — even in states where it’s legal. The request was in response to an incident where a customer accidentally shot and injured himself, and it drew both support and vitriol.

In this more recent piece published on Fortune, Bergh has reiterated his call for business leaders to take a stand on what they believe is morally right. He writes, “We can’t take on every issue. But as business leaders with power in the public and political arenas, we simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to the issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities where we live and work. While taking a stand can be unpopular with some, doing nothing is no longer an option.”

Convercent’s dedication to respectful, in-person public policy conversations

At Convercent, our leadership also believes that doing nothing is simply not an option. An important part of building a better world is participating in civil public discourse, including through voting on the topics that most impact our lives. That’s why our CEO, Patrick Quinlan, recently invited major candidates for Colorado’s upcoming gubernatorial and Attorney General elections to answer questions and engage in dialogue (regardless of political affiliation).

On September 5th, Republican Governor Candidate Walker Stapleton joined us at INDUSTRY RiNo for 45 minutes of questions and discussion. The next day, Attorney General Candidate Phil Weiser visited to answer questions and speak with constituents. We hope to host more of these Q&As ahead of the November midterm elections.

Voting is an extraordinarily important right in the U.S. — and it’s our duty to become informed voters. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has nationwide resources for registering to vote, and you can visit their website here to lean more.