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A Conflict of Interest Policy is a document used by an employer to describe when their employees might face a conflict of interest. Usually, these documents also describe how employees can report a potential conflict.
Conflicts involve situations where the employee may be motivated by something other than their work for the employer. All employers, even small businesses, should consider having a comprehensive Conflict of Interest Policy for their employees.
In addition to a Conflict of Interest Policy, many Employers have other documents to address various other employment related matters. We have a number of these types of documents available for download, including an Employment Agreement (or Letter of Offer of Employment), Confidentiality Agreement, Non-Compete Agreement, Employee Handbook, Drug and Alcohol Policy, Social Media Policy, Remote Work Policy and a Discrimination Policy. These documents can work in conjunction with the Conflict of Interest Policy.
This document is intended for use by commercial businesses. For nonprofits or charities, use our Nonprofit Conflict of Interest Policy.
How to use this document
This document should be used by an Employer that wants to set out their rules regarding Employee conflicts of interest.
The Employer can enter their relevant details at the start of the document, and can select various options throughout the document to adapt it to their particular circumstances.
Once the document has been completed, it can be made available to Employees. It may be provided to new Employees when they first start working with the Employer. For existing Employees, it may be distributed, together with a message to notify them that this document outlines the Employer's updated approach to conflicts of interest.
In any event, it is important that the details of this Policy are actually communicated to Employees, and that Employees actually understand what is expected of them. An easy way to do this is by sending a Letter to Employees About New or Updated Workplace Policies.
Some Employers choose to have Employees sign a copy of the document, to confirm that they have read and understood it. Signed copies may be kept on file by the Employer. This document has an option to include space for the Employee to sign it.
The Employer should ensure that the document accurately reflects their actual approach to these matters. The Employer should also make sure that Employees understand what the document says. The purpose of this document is to avoid conflicts of interest, so to achieve that, it is important that the Employee and the Employer take the time to understand the document, and to make sure they comply with it.
In some businesses, there is a temptation to prepare these sorts of documents, get Employees to sign them, and then file them away and never think of them again. In other words, they are treated as a "tick and flick" exercise. This should be avoided, and instead the business should use the document as an opportunity to educate their Employees and to develop a positive culture that avoids conflicts of interest.
Some Employers also choose to make reference to this Policy within the Employment Contract.
There are no specific laws governing a Conflict of Interest Policy for employees, but generally the document should give the employees as much information as possible about the employer's specific guidelines so that they do not run afoul of the policy.
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Other names for the document: Employee Conflict of Interest Policy, Workplace Conflict of Interest Policy, Employment Conflict of Interest Policy, Staff Conflict of Interest Policy, Conflict of Interest Guidelines