Compliance and Ethics obligations must be incorporated into the Internal Regulations in order to be enforceable on employees.

6 Mar, 2022 | Noticias-en

On May 31, the Labor Department ruled on the enforceability of the obligations established in the company’s Code of Ethics, when it has not been formally incorporated into the Internal Regulations on Order, Hygiene and Safety.

The pronouncement arises from the request presented by a union to refer to two questions:

Whether the company should incorporate the procedures, regulations and provisions of the Code of Ethics that govern the different companies of the holding company, to the Internal Regulations of order, hygiene and safety of the mining company.
Whether or not the provisions of the aforementioned Code of Ethics constitute a mandatory regulation for the employees of the subsidiary company, whose non-compliance must be sanctioned by the employer, even though they have not been incorporated into the aforementioned Internal Rules of Order, Hygiene and Safety.
In order to respond to the requirement, the Labor Directorate analyzed the provisions of article 153, paragraph 1 of the Labor Code, as well as numbers 5, 10 and 11 of article 154 of the same legal body, in addition to the recent jurisprudence of the agency. To this effect, the DT recalls that the legislator requires companies that employ 10 or more permanent workers to draw up an Internal Regulation of Order, Hygiene and Safety that contains the obligations and prohibitions to which workers must be subject in relation to their work, stay and life in the premises of the respective company or establishment.

Thus, after analyzing the respective documents submitted, the institution pointed out that the Code of Ethics existing in the parent company contains obligations and prohibitions, as well as the procedure for investigations and the application of sanctions, so that this body does not constitute a regulation to which the workers of the subsidiary companies must be subject until it has been incorporated into the Internal Rules of Order, Hygiene and Safety of the company in question and made known to the workers in the manner provided by law.

Thus, the precedent is set that it is not enough for the parent company to have a Code of Ethics, nor is it enough to make the Code of Ethics known to the workers; it is essential to incorporate it into the Internal Regulations of each company that makes up the economic group so that it is enforceable and applicable to all workers.

Once again, the importance of approaching Compliance with a transversal view that includes the analysis from the perspective of labor law is evident. Otherwise, there is a risk of creating a compliance model that, at the end of the day, cannot be imposed as mandatory for workers, for not having complied with the formalities required by law.

The AZ Compliance team has a cross-cutting nature, incorporating specialists from the Labor, Antitrust, Criminal, Corporate, Personal Data Protection and Consumer Law groups, among others, which allows an all-encompassing view for the implementation of a Compliance Model suitable for the needs of each company.


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