Code of Ethics for Flight Center in Australia
Introduction: Codes of Conduct
The term “code of conduct” refers to a set of rules around the behavior of a group of people, such as employees in an organization that they must follow within that institution. Once established, the code of conduct acts as the standard that the people must meet as a guide of behavior (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2020). Major scandals in the US and Europe between the 1960s and 1980s facilitated the need for codes of ethics, which became a common practice by the end of the 1980s. The role of the code of conduct is to set the rules that outline the norms, proper practices, regulations, and responsibilities of the organization (Glynn et al., 2019; ASIC, 2019). Some codes of ethics, however, cannot work as those that are contrary to the national laws. For example, an international company originating from Australia cannot apply some rules in its code of ethics used at home in a country such as Saudi Arabia where gender equality is not yet achieved.
This paper concerns developing a code of conduct for the Flight Center Group, the largest retailer of travel in Australia, with a portfolio with more than 1,300 businesses (FCTGL, 2021). The company started operations in 1982 and focused on an expansion strategy (FCTGL, 2021). The company’s code of conduct was developed in the 1980s, which means that it needs to be updated in order to address the modern challenges, including new issues such as the rights of LGBTQ people.
Almost any society discriminates against some of its members in one way or the others. The term ‘discrimination’ means prejudicial or unfair treatment of a person or a group of people due to certain characteristics such as race, sexual orientation, gender, age, ethnic background, skin color, place of origin, economic status, educational level, and others (Hashemi et al., 2020). Discrimination occurs when the victim is unable or prevented from enjoying their rights on an equal basis with others because of such an unjustified distinction made in treatment, law, or policy (Attorney Generals Department, 2020). For example, a company that develops a policy that all women should be dressed in a skirt suit at work discriminates against those from certain cultures such as Arab and Muslim women whose beliefs dictate that they be dressed formally in their traditional clothing. Kantian ethics assert that every person matters and that people have equal rights. Therefore, there should be no discrimination based on the differences common to humans. In the workplace, every person should be treated equally and with respect, regardless of geographical, cultural, historical, economic, or social background.
Code of Ethics
Flight Center Company strives to provide a safe, healthy, and welcoming environment for all employees, regardless of their backgrounds. All employees must show respect to each other, seniors, juniors, and customers, regardless of any differences. It is the duty of every employee to ensure that cases of discrimination are reported immediately. Actions that may violate the standards and result in severe punishment, including dismissal and legal actions, are discrimination due to the following:
- Physical ability/disability,
- Sexual orientation, intersex status, or gender identity,
- Race, skin color, ethnic background, national or geographical origin, and immigration status,
- Physical appearance, including weight, height, gait, and others,
- Pregnancy, marital status, relationship status, breastfeeding, family responsibility, and sex,
- Educational level,
- Health status,
- Religious and cultural backgrounds,
- Economic status.
Exploitation is the act of unfairly treating a person or group of people unfairly for the purpose of benefiting from them in some way. It is selfishly taking advantage of a person or a group of persons in order to achieve something or personal benefit, using another person’s vulnerability or condition for one’s benefit amounts to exploitation (Hashemi et al., 2020). For example, hiring unregistered immigrants at a low wage level because they cannot report the employer as they are afraid of deportation is morally wrong, indeed, it is illegal labor exploitation. Similarly, benefitting from the unique talents of vulnerable people such as the disabled, such as their music, for personal benefit is exploitation and morally wrong.
Exploitation can be either structural or transactional. Transactional exploitation means that unfairness occurs as a property of discrete transaction between two parties or individuals. For example, a pharmaceutical company that conducts drug testing on poor communities commits transactional exploitation (Freiberg, 2019). On the contrary, structural exploitation means that the action is a property of systems or institutions where the rules unfairly treat one side and benefits the other.
Code of Ethics for Exploitation
Any party working for, on behalf, or in the name of Flight Center Company shall not seek to take advantage of any person, group, or party for its benefit based on that other part’s vulnerability. It shall be considered an act of exploitation for any person or party benefiting by taking advantage of any of these groups due to their vulnerabilities:
- Gender: – women, girls, intersex,
- Age: – children, adolescents, the elderly,
- Migration status: – unregistered immigrants, immigrants of any other type,
- Physical ability: – the disabled, the senile, those at risk,
- Health status: – those at risk, the sick, the recovering,
- Economic status: – the poor, middle income, the wealthy,
- Education status: – students, interns, illiterate people,
- Sexual orientation- LGBTQ and others.
Corruption, by definition, is the act of acquiring illicit benefits or abuse of power for one’s personal gain, normally taken by an individual or organization entrusted with a position of authority. There are many forms of corruption such as bribery, grabbing, embezzlement, and stealing. In most countries across the world, corruption is a crime, but it is still rampant. In fact, corruption is one of the major issues affecting many countries, organizations, and societies across the world. In moral ethics, the causal theory of institutional corruption argues that an action is corrupt if it undermines the institutional process or subverts the purpose or despoils the character of a member. In simple terms, corrupt actions have an impact of undermining the vision, mission, strategy, or objectives of an organization or society.
In Australia, fraud is not only unethical but also a crime under the penal code (ACCC, 2020). Governments at any level, institutions, corporations, and social welfare organizations are all areas prone to corruption (Freiberg, 2019). The impacts of corruption are wide and detrimental in most cases and include increased poverty, unemployment, crime rates, inequality, social division, violence, and environmental crises. Nations with high corruption rates tend to have poor development levels, low human development indices, poor economic distribution, poverty, and high rates of crime and violence. An example of corruption is giving a bribe to a police officer to avoid arrest or interrogation.
Code of Ethics for Corruption
Flight Center Company deems it a corrupt act when:
- A person or party offers the advantage acts through another party,
- A person or party receives the advantage through any other party,
- Fraudulent action and grating of undue advantage takes place,
- Undue advantage is monetary form,
- Undue advantage is non-monetary form,
- Beneficiary is part of the company, employee, leader, supplier, customer, stakeholder, government official, or any other party.
Dishonest and Fraudulent Behavior
Dishonest or fraudulent behaviors are activities that concern any dishonest, illegal, or fraudulent acts that involve a company’s property, premises, or resources (Freiberg, 2019). Such a conduct refers to a deliberate action or failure to act with the intention of obtaining some unauthorized benefit (Freiberg, 2019). Some examples of this kind of conduct include fraudulent financial reporting, alteration or forgery of documents, fraudulent financial reporting, unauthorized manipulation and/or alteration of computer files, and pursuit of benefit in violation of the organization’s interest policy (Freiberg, 2019). In addition, authorizing or receiving compensation for services not done or goods not received and authorization or receipt of compensation for time not worked.
Employees are expected to avoid all these actions that amount to dishonest and fraudulent behavior. For example, it is prohibited for employees in the Information Technology department who have access to files to manipulate in any way the files they are responsible for handling (Freiberg, 2019). In moral ethics, dishonesty means an individual of integrity is expected to act out of moral principle rather than expediency. Such a person is expected to take the right actions even if it means experiencing some loss (Freiberg, 2019). In addition, the person cannot shy away from disclosing fraud in the workplace regardless of the possible consequences. The Flight Center expects its employees and managers to act in the same way because integrity is a core value in the company.
Code of Ethics for Dishonest and Fraudulent Behavior for light Centre
The Flight Center company considers it a deliberate act or failure to act with the intention of obtaining some unauthorized benefit if any party is involved in any of the following actions:
- Fraudulent financial reporting, alteration or forgery of documents,
- Fraudulent financial reporting, unauthorized manipulation and/or alteration of computer files,
- Pursuit of benefit in violation of the organization’s interest policy,
- Authorizing or receiving compensation for services not done or goods not received,
- Authorization or receipt of compensation for time not worked.
Whistleblowing is an important part of appropriate conduct in the modern business world. By definition, a whistleblower is an SDSS or an ARC member or institution employee who informs a supervisor, secretary, treasurer, or manager about any activity that the person believes to be dishonest or fraudulent (Humphreys & De Zwart, 2017). Managers and supervisors have the responsibility to report any conduct considered dishonest or fraudulent to the Flight Center supervisors or treasurer. In addition, they must maintain a system of management controls with the ability to detect and prevent such conduct (Humphreys & De Zwart, 2017). Failure to do this within the scope of this policy may result in adverse action against the supervisor or the manager.
Managers have a unique position to provide incentives to whistleblowers in a manner that is impossible for those outside the company. This position gives supervisors and managers the ability to maintain an ethical imperative to have internal reporting mechanisms even when there are potential overriding rights or duties (Humphreys & De Zwart, 2017). Employees have a duty to the supervisors and managers that might compete with their own rights (Hall & Brown, 2018). The Flight Centers will ensure that there are internal whistleblowing mechanisms to avoid such situations (Humphreys & De Zwart, 2017). It will be the moral duty of the supervisors to ensure that there is a good environment for anyone to raise concern when they feel that fraud is happening or when there are signs of a possible fraud likely to happen.
Code of Conduct for the Flight Center
The Flight Center will protect whistleblowers as defined here:
- Protect whistleblowers against retaliation and keep their identities confidential (unless they agree to be reported),
- Flight Center members and employees should not retaliate against any whistleblower, with the intent of adversely their employment terms and conditions,
- All whistleblowers should always be cautious to avoid baseless allegations,
- Always encourage whistleblowing and never discriminate against those who have been whistleblowers before,
- Give room for any person in the company to raise concern if they feel that fraudulent actions are taking place or are foreseeable
- Allow communication channels for any person to communicate to the managers or relevant persons in case of fraudulent actions
Enforcement refers to the appropriate execution of the process of ensuring compliance with standards, rules, laws, social norms, and regulations. It is the role of all employees to ensure that they follow all the rules under this code of ethics. In addition, The Flight Center expects the managers and supervisors to ensure that all these rules and regulations are executed at all times. The presence of a code of conduct at any place does not mean that the people will act accordingly. Rather, it is the execution of the rules and guidelines within the document that will ensure people act accordingly and comply with the regulations (Freiberg, 2019). Therefore, it is arguable that the main role of the leaders in the Flight Centers will be to oversee the execution of the code of conduct. In Kantian ethics, the end results are not important, but determining the action itself or the moral intent of a decision is crucial. Consequently, the Flight Centers supervisors and managers have the moral duty to enforce these rules regardless of their deemed consequences.
Code of Ethics to Enhance Enforcement at the Flight Center
- It is the responsibility of the managers and supervisors to ensure that each employee is aware of the existing codes of ethics,
- It is the role of the managers and supervisors to provide their subordinates with copies of this document,
- Managers and supervisors must monitor the employees’ ability to comply with the rules and regulations under this code of conduct.
A code of conduct is a set of rules around the behavior of a group of people, such as employees in an organization that they must follow within that institution. Once established, the code of conduct acts as the standard that the people must meet as a guide of behavior. The purpose of the code of conduct is to ensure that the company employees, managers, supervisors, and other parties act responsibly at all times. Specifically, this code of conduct has specified the new rules and regulations that should help the company prevent and mitigate unethical acts of discrimination, fraud, corruption, dishonesty, and exploitation. In addition, the paper proposes new rules that should guide the company in protecting whistleblowers and enforce the rules to ensure total compliance by everyone in the institution. However, it is recommended that the company continue to improve its code of ethics through frequent reviews and evaluations to determine its effectiveness and weaknesses. The objective is to achieve an acceptable, applicable, and efficient set of rules that will help uphold morals and good governance in the institution.
ACCC. (2020). Fraud prevention.
ASIC. (2019). Code of conduct. Web.
Attorney Generals Department. (2020). Australia’s anti-discrimination law.
Australian Human Rights Commission. (2020). Discrimination.
Freiberg, A. (2019). Researching white‐collar crime: An Australian perspective. The handbook of White‐Collar Crime, 418-436.
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Hall, K., & Brown, A. J. (2018). From symbols to systems: Progress in the reform of Australia’s private sector whistleblowing laws. Law and Financial Markets Review, 12(1), 7-17. Web.
Hashemi, N., Marzban, M., Sebar, B., & Harris, N. (2020). Perceived discrimination and subjective well-being among Middle Eastern migrants in Australia: The moderating role of perceived social support. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 67(2), 110-119. Web.
Humphreys, S., & De Zwart, M. (2017). Data retention, journalist freedoms and whistleblowers. Media International Australia, 165(1), 103-116. Web.