US Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Zane Memeger addressed an audience gathered at the Temple Center for Compliance and Ethics’ November CLE event, making the case for why companies should develop and maintain a vigorous internal compliance program.
“Actual, tangible compliance matters,” Memeger told the audience before describing the factors his office uses to evaluate a company’s compliance efforts. He said that the several factors currently in use were intended to illuminate how effectively the company incorporated compliance into its daily business practices. Those factors included:
- A historical track record of a culture of compliance
- Clear, well-written policies for employees
- A compliance officer with decision-making authority, resources, and access to information
- Proactive investigation of potential issues
- Ongoing training and education of management employees
- Encouragement for employees to report issues without fear of retribution
- Meaningful discipline for upper-level employees who engage in misconduct
- Regular review of the program for continued effectiveness.
While noting that most compliance violations do not result in criminal prosecutions, Memeger remarked that his office has begun to focus more sharply on the individual persons responsible for misconduct within a business. “The prosecution of a company does not replace the prosecution of an individually culpable person,” Memeger said. “Individuals will only change their behavior if they know they will go to jail or lose their jobs.”