HR Strange But True!
February 02, 2006

If you are looking for evidence that ensuring ethical conduct takes more than just handing out a policy, take a look at Enron's Code of Ethics.

The Smoking Gun has published a copy of the bankrupt company's 64-page Code of Ethics, which the company distributed to employees in 2000. Kenneth Lay, then chief executive and chair of the company and now accused of seven counts of fraud and conspiracy, wrote the foreword.

The Smoking Gun wonders whether any of the executives charged in the Enron case read the policies. The company did ask all employees to sign a statement that they agreed to comply with the policies. If they did read those policies, they would have seen that Enron "employees are charged with conducting their business affairs with the highest ethical standards."

In the government's case, however, prosecutors have charged top executives with going far beyond unethical conduct to engaging in illegal conduct that led up to the company's downfall in 2001.

Sixteen former Enron executives have pleaded guilty in the government's case. Two of Enron's former chief executives--Lay and Jeffrey Skilling--have pleaded innocent. Their trial began this week. Skilling faces 31 charges.

The Smoking Gun isn't the only one with a copy of Enron's Code of Ethics. As HR Strange but True! reported in 2002, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History's collection of Enron memorabilia includes the Code of Ethics.

Source: The Smoking Gun

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