While each company is different, the following are often included in a code of conduct.
- Company mission
- Purpose of the code of conduct
- Compliance with laws or laws relevant to employee or member rights
- Outline of unacceptable behaviors in the workplace and their consequences
- Details of internal practices such as dress code, drug use, or sexual harassment policies
- External practices such as confidentiality and conflicts of interest
- Company and equipment use and protections
- Outline of code compliance expectations
- Training requirements and guidelines
- Job duties and employment benefits
- Chain of command for disciplinary action
While privately-owned companies are not required to have a Code of Conduct, to create an optimal working environment, it is important to have a clear understanding on what behaviors are expected from employees. This can be done through implementing guidelines through an official Code of Conduct document or agreement that covers major legal risks as well as ethical issues so people know how they should act according the law and good business practices while also helping them make more informed decisions when faced with difficult situations at work.
The Council of Nonprofits encourages all nonprofits to create an appropriate "statement of values" or "code of ethics" for your nonprofit. For some charitable nonprofits it may be appropriate that their codes incorporate standards already adopted by certain professional groups.
A Code of Ethics generally governs decision-making while a Code of Conduct generally governs actions. Both can help set expectations for employees, members and volunteer staff.
The following examples will give you some ideas as to what public companies present in their Codes of Conduct.