Apple executives have reached out to employees today in a company wide email urging them to review Apple’s Business Conduct Policy, a document describing how employees should conduct themselves in and outside the company while representing Apple. An email from Apple’s SVP and General Counsel Bruce Sewell (below) was accompanied by a new version of the policy available to employees in iBooks format and a video from CEO Tim Cook discussing the policy.
It’s unclear if there was a situation at Apple that could have prompted the email and video from Apple executives to employees. Apple notes that the policy “explains in very clear terms how you are expected to conduct yourself with our customers, business partners, government agencies, and fellow employees.” The document also covers legal principles ”like antitrust and anti-corruption laws” that all employees are expected to follow.
In the video, Tim Cook quotes Martin Luther King Jr saying “The time is always right to do what is right” and urges employees to speak up about other employees not following the code of conduct. Cook’s full quote from the video below:
As Dr. Martin Luther King once said, the time is always right to do what’s right. At Apple, we do the right thing. Even when it’s not easy. If you see something that doesn’t meet our standards, speak up. Whether it’s a quality issue or a business practice, if it affects Apple’s integrity, we need to know about it.
Product and company related leaks have been one source of frustration for Apple executives related to employees breaking the code of conduct. Last year Tim Cook vowed to “double down” on secrecy of products, but details for the majority of Apple’s major new product launches, including the new iPhone 5S and 5C, continued to leak out. Tim Cook has since mentioned leaks to employees with one source telling us Cook referred to leaks as the “enemy” during a town hall meeting at Apple earlier this year.
The Business Conduct Policy covers conflicts of interest such as personal investments, workplace relationships, outside employment and inventions, as well as rules regarding harassment and discrimination, insider trading, and substance abuse. It also includes Apple’s policies for employees related to public speaking, press inquiries, publishing articles, and endorsements.
The full email from Apple’s SVP and General Counsel Bruce Sewell is below:
I am writing to ask you to do something very important — set aside a little time to review Apple’s Business Conduct Policy. It explains in very clear terms how you are expected to conduct yourself with our customers, business partners, government agencies, and fellow employees. We expect every Apple employee to understand and comply with these rules.
The Policy is based on Apple’s core values of honesty, respect, confidentiality, and the critical obligation of every Apple employee to adhere to legal principles, like antitrust and anti-corruption laws. Living by it is how we earn the trust of our customers and partners and how we keep Apple a great place to work.
The Business Conduct group has developed a new version of the Policy in iBooks format. The book is convenient and engaging with galleries, video, audio and multi-touch widgets all designed to help you learn about Apple’s principles of business conduct. You can download the new book via Switchboard, or access a web-version here.
If you have questions, or information about conduct you think may violate the Policy, don’t be afraid to speak up. Talk to your manager, your HR representative, or contact the Business Conduct Helpline — which can be done anonymously.
Thank you in advance for treating this seriously and taking responsibility for demonstrating high integrity in every aspect of Apple’s business.
SVP and General Counsel