updated 12:02 am EST, Thu November 21, 2013
New e-book version aimed at all employees; includes anti-trust, anti-corruption guidelines
Perhaps in response to the ongoing Department of Justice e-book case, Apple Senior Vice President and General Counsel Bruce Sewell on Wednesday sent a company-wide email to employees - backed up by a video from CEO Tim Cook - that encouraged them to review the company's Business Conduct Policy, recently updated and now available in iBooks format. The policy is meant to govern interactions with "customers, business partners, government agencies and fellow employees."
Cook invoked Martin Luther King Jr. in his accompanying video message, saying that "the time is always right do what's right" and asking all employees to let the executive team know if "you see something that doesn't meet our standards." He added that "at Apple, we do the right thing ... even when its not easy" and said that whether a question involved "a quality issue or a business practice, if it affects Apple's integrity we need to know about it."
The policy also covers antitrust and anti-corruption laws, quite possibly a reference to Apple's defeat (so far) in its fight against the Department of Justice over its e-book pricing and industry relations (which it is in the process of appealing). It also covers conflict-of-interest situations such as workplace relationships and outside inventions, substance abuse and insider trading. Cook himself has spoken on several occasions about the need for the company to clamp down on leaks about upcoming developments, and while such disclosures have come from Cupertino-based workers on occasion, the majority of news leaks arrive through China- and Taiwan-based contractors and suppliers.
"[Our] policy is based on Apple's core values of honesty, respect, confidentiality, and the critical obligation of every Apple employee to adhere to legal principles," Sewell wrote in his email. "Living by it is how we earn the trust of our customers and partners and how we keep Apple a great place to work ... thank you in advance for treating this seriously and taking responsibility for demonstrating high integrity in every aspect of Apple's business."
It is unclear if there was a specific incident that prompted the updating and emphasis on the company's code of conduct. Employees can review the document from a private Web address, or download the new iBooks version through the internal Switchboard network.