Employee Handbook: Code of Ethics + Whistleblowers Policy

Written By Liz Hunt & Ta Corrales

Published September 1, 2021

a teal circle containing the text 'code of ethics + whistleblowers policy' overlays a photo of a wooden workbench covered in tools
This is the second post in a six-part series about our journey towards B Corp certification in which we share details about the policies and benefit programs from our employee handbook we find most meaningful.

Overview | Code of Ethics + Whistleblowers Policy | Education & Development Benefit Program | Policies For Selecting Suppliers & Nonprofits | Health & Wellness + Menopause Benefit Programs | Climate Action Policy

As we mentioned in our overview, the policies and benefit programs we’ve detailed in our employee handbook address past workplace betrayals, carry forward perks from former employers, and formalize how we’ve created a healthier and more inclusive workplace culture. In this post, we discuss our Code of Ethics & Whistleblower Policy.

Why They’re Meaningful To Us

Integrity and accountability are critical for healthy relationships (and thus for healthy workplace cultures). These two values have long been at the foundation of our personal morals, and something we often felt was weak in most of our former workplaces, so we included them in the basis for Smith Assembly’s culture.

Most companies today focus solely on shareholder value. We believe business should be a force for good — for its team, clients, and communities as well as for our society and environment. This broader and more well-rounded perspective, beyond just growth and profitability, is the primary reason why we set out from day one to become a certified B Corp. These additional stakeholders are not only explicitly listed in our code of ethics, they’re also threaded throughout our employee handbook and foundational to our culture. To us, integrity means doing what’s right for us and all of our stakeholders.

Accountability is not punishment. Instead, to us, it’s recognizing that words and actions can impact others in unintended ways and accepting responsibility for everything said and done. Whenever someone or something is harmed, accountability also includes apologizing, making the appropriate amends, and changing future behavior.

We believe the best way for a company to operate with integrity and hold themselves accountable is to proactively share its expectations and intentions with all stakeholders then remain open to feedback. Our company’s culture encourages candid and tactful feedback and embraces learning moments. People who ask questions or point out instances of inappropriate behavior should be appreciated, never retaliated against.

Below we’ve included the current version of our Code of Ethics and Whistleblowers Policy from our employee handbook. Although they’ve been reviewed by a certified HR Business Partner, we don’t yet know if they’ll meet all the requirements of B Corp certification so might be updated as we learn more. We’re sharing our work-in-progress in the spirit of open collaboration. We hope they’ll help you create or evolve your own employee handbook.

Code Of Ethics

You Will...

  • Be accountable for your decisions, behaviors, words, and actions
  • Act to the highest standards of ethical and professional behavior
  • Support the well-being of our team, clients, community, society, and environment in your work
  • Respect the intellectual property rights of our company and clients
  • Not disclose our company’s or clients’ confidential information unless authorized or obligated by law to do so
  • Obey all federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal laws at work
  • Not knowingly do, or fail to do, anything that deliberately or recklessly disregards the health or safety of our team, clients, or community
  • Strive to create a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace and treat everyone with dignity, respect, and compassion
  • Consider the cultural, economic, environmental, and social implications of your work to maximize positive impacts

Whistleblowers Policy

We Do Not Tolerate Illegal Or Unethical Practices

We do everything we can to create an equitable and just workplace. Our company follows a code of conduct and a code of ethics. Illegal or unethical behavior — whether negligence or wrongdoing — violates our codes. Whistleblowing refers to the disclosure of information by a contractor, employee, supplier, or other stakeholder about a perceived wrongdoing within an organization.

Smith Assembly does not tolerate illegal or unethical practices, and we do not retaliate against whistleblowers.

If you believe that you have witnessed illegal, unethical, or questionable practices, please let one of our co-founders know as soon as possible (or submit an anonymous complaint). Every report will be appropriately investigated.