Right now our industry is going through a huge crack down on alleged Code of Conduct violations and compliance with company policy.
While none of us support crooks and we all want our industry to be trusted and respected, this proposal could see you branded as a bad apple for undisclosed, unfair or trivial allegations about not following policy or breach of a code of conduct.
The deal being proposed by the banks along with the Australian Bankers Association would see secret reports provided to prospective employers through a Background Conduct Check . These reports would contain material that stops your career in its tracks. You would not be able to control what is in the report but it would stay with you for years without any rights to appeal. Does that sound fair to you?
WHAT COULD BE INCLUDED AS PART OF THIS BACKGROUND CONDUCT CHECK?
This check could include any allegations against you of breaches of the Code of Conduct or employer policies while in your current job. These breaches could include;
- Failing to adhere to a strict script in a contact centre
- Breaching the Social Media Policy
- Not protecting your employer’s reputation
- Not demonstrating the correct behaviours at work
This is not a complete list, there are hundreds of policies and codes of conduct across the finance industry and any non-compliance with these could see you winding up branded as a “bad apple” and shut out of employment.
WHAT COULD THIS BACKGROUND CONDUCT CHECK MEAN FOR PEOPLE?
This check could mean that one or several of the following could occur to employees as they seek other roles within the industry.
- Violation of privacy
- Affect job security or future employment
- Rights could be threatened
- No natural justice
- No right to appeal
BUT DON’T WE NEED THIS TO CLEAN UP THE INDUSTRY?
This has all been tried before and it doesn’t work. In the USA a corporate reporting system already operates – but it didn’t prevent the GFC and it didn’t stop Wells Fargo from opening millions of dodgy accounts.
Listen to this podcast from the USA about how “Jeremy”, a former Wells Fargo staff member who struggled to find work after falling out with Wells Fargo Management. The podcast also includes “Ashleigh” who says Wells Fargo wrote on her Report that she was fired because she, “failed to perform job duties”, when what actually happened was that she refused to fraudulently open accounts for customers who didn’t want them.
You can read more about Jeremy's story here
Like the system being touted by Australia’s banks and financial service providers, the US system is owned and operated within the corporations. See a blank US Report form here
WHAT IS THE FSU DOING ABOUT IT?.
The FSU is fighting this from the top; the crises in our industry in the last few years have not been caused by a few bad apples. They have been the result of a system designed to achieve maximum sales revenue with a senior management driven culture that too often says that the end justifies the means.
A recent survey of 1,000 finance workers indicated that staff don’t trust employers to own operate and use a system to blacklist employees. However, they would support a government regulator to run a register that was independent from the employers and was truly focussed on removing individuals who have broken the law.
Key survey results revealed:
- Staff in the industry do want to rebuild trust and confidence in their industry (88%),
- The major cause of the loss of community trust is the management’s culture of targets and cost control (55%),
- Staff do not trust the industry to administer a bad apples register internally (90%),
- Staff are seriously concerned that a register run by the industry would be used against them in preventing them from securing alternate employment (89%),
- Staff would support a government controlled and operated register that included the names of those who were proven to have broken the law (82%).
These results have led to the FSU launching a petition to the Senate to establish a fair and transparent regulator run register, if you haven't already you can sign the petition here.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
The FSU is the only voice in this debate that is committed to your interests. If you are not a FSU member yet join today. If someone you work with is not yet a member offer to sign them up – for their own good and yours.
By being an FSU member you go a long way to protecting yourself and your colleagues from unfair practices that could mean you might not be able to work in the finance industry again.