Sanctions when breaching ethics varies, dependant on whether the requirement is legislated, contained in internal policies or procedures, or whether it is a moral code.
A breach of legislation may result in criminal or civil prosecution, loss of licence or hefty fines
A breach of a business policies or procedures may result in disciplinary action
A breach in a personal moral code may result in social sanction, and ones’ conscience applying its own sanction
Where a breach is identified, the following is the process to be followed
- An investigation into the breach and the reasons for it
- An assessment as to the materiality of the breach
- A determination of the risk which arises as a result of the breach, and the potential impact on stakeholders
- An assessment of any damage which has resulted as a result of the breach
- An investigation into the possibility of and methodology in rectifying any damage eg. Apology, money back, reversal of transaction, removal of a person from a particular role, debarment
- An application of the internal disciplinary code, taking into account any mitigating circumstances.