Conflict of Interest

What is conflict of interest?

A conflict of interest occurs when personal (or self-serving) interests collide with professional duties or responsibilities, making an entity or individual untrustworthy. When a firm or individual has a vested interest—for example, money, status, knowledge, relationships, or reputation—it calls into question whether their actions, judgement, and/or decision-making can be objective. When such a situation arises, the offending party is normally asked to leave, and it is frequently required by law.

What are some examples of conflicts of interest?

1. Hiring a relative who isn't qualified to deliver the services your firm requires is a bad idea. 

2. Creating a business that provides services similar to those provided by your full-time workplace 

3. Failure to disclose that you are linked to a job candidate who is being considered by the company 

4. Making plans to work for a vendor or client in the future while still doing business with them 

5. Using social media to publicise your company's flaws 

6. Providing compensated services to a company customer or supplier while your vacation 

7. Part-time work for a company that sells a similar product or service to your full-time employer 

8. Accepting money from a third party in exchange for information about your employer 

9. Failing to investigate a subordinate or coworker's misconduct because they are a friend. 

10. Giving a competitor confidential information about your employer

What are the types of conflicts of interest?

The most typical types of conflicts of interest are as follows: 

1. Self-dealing: occurs when a controlling official compels an organisation to engage in a transaction with the official or with another organisation that benefits the official solely. Both parties of the "transaction" are represented by the official. 

2. Outside of work, where one job's goals conflict with those of another. 

3. Nepotism: This occurs when a spouse, kid, or other close relative is employed (or applies for employment) by a person, or when products or services are purchased from a relative or a corporation run by a relative. Many job applications question if the candidate is related to an existing employee of the company to avoid nepotism in hiring.

4. If a working relative plays a role in the hiring process, this allows for recusal. If this is the case, the relative may be barred from participating in any employment choices. 

5. Gifts from friends who do business with the person receiving the gifts, or from persons or corporations that do business with the company where the gift recipient works. Non-tangible gifts, such as transportation and hotel, may be included in such offerings. 

6. A stock broker who owns a securities artificially inflates the price by "upgrading" it or spreading rumours, then sells the asset and adds a short position, then "downgrades" it or distributes negative rumours to drive the price down.

How do you handle conflict of interest in a company?

A rigid approach to limiting private interests may conflict with other rights, be impracticable, or dissuade experienced and qualified persons from running for public office or serving in the government. The goal of a modern conflict-of-interest policy is to establish a balance by: 

  • Detecting dangers 
  • Unacceptable forms of private interest are prohibited. 
  • Raising awareness of the situations that can lead to conflict 
  • Increasing training capacity to prevent conflicts of interest and ensuring adequate procedures for resolving conflicts of interest

What are the consequences of a conflict of interest?

Failure to disclose and be involved in conflicts of interest can result in severe consequences for workers, including termination in cases where a conflict is irreconcilable with a worker's role in the organisation; temporary or permanent restriction of access to certain information; removal of authority over certain issues; involvement of authorities if illegal acts have been committed; divestments or liquidation of financial interests that are irrational. On a corporate level, the implications might include severe and potentially irrevocable reputational harm, large fines, and legal action.

Can an employer fire an employee due to conflict of interest?

An employer has the authority to fire you if you have a conflict of interest. If you've broken your job contract or the company's code of conduct or conflict of interest policies, they may fire you right away. Employees who violate the policies may be terminated, according to these documents.

In most situations, the repercussions of breaking policies are left unclear, with statements like "Violations may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment."

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