Ethics Codes Done Right: How to Avoid Antitrust Risk

balancing scale with rocks August 1, 2016 By: Jeffrey S. Tenenbaum, Robert P. Davis, Andrew E. Bigart, and Peter S. Frechette

Associations may have the right intentions when they adopt a code of ethics, but such codes are fraught with legal risk. Here are steps associations should take to minimize risk before and after adopting an ethics code.

Codes of ethics can serve an important role in establishing best practices and setting standards in a profession or trade. For instance, such codes can advance safety for consumers by prohibiting harmful practices and improve the quality of products via certification requirements. Taken too far, however, codes of ethics can run afoul of antitrust laws, by, for example, regulating price competition or restricting competition within certain regions. ...