Code of Conduct
WE UPHOLD HIGH STANDARDS OF ETHICAL CONDUCT.
Core Values. In accordance with SMS Assist’s core values, we expect all employees to hold themselves to high standards of ethical conduct. We strive to treat all customers in a fair, ethical, and non-discriminatory manner and aim to achieve a competitive position in the marketplace by providing superior services and not through unethical or illegal business practices. We listen carefully to any feedback received from our customers.
Reinforcing a strong sense of personal accountability and integrity is a priority and core value at SMS Assist. An employee’s action or inaction may harm our customers and affiliates, undermine the Company’s reputation, or negatively impact our internal culture. Employees are encouraged to escalate concerns, regardless of whether the concern affects the employee’s work directly.
Ethical Decision Making. Doing what is right is our goal. Upon identifying an ethical problem, employees should determine the best approach to resolve it by asking the following questions:
- Is it consistent with SMS Assist’s core values, policies, and this Code of Conduct?
- Is it legal?
- Would you be comfortable if your approach were published in the newspaper?
- Would you be comfortable with the example it sets for future decisions?
Seek input from others, if appropriate. If the answer to any of these is “no,” or if you are unsure of what to do in a situation, escalate the problem to your manager, Human Resources, or the Legal Department. It is always better to ask before you act, especially if the right thing to do is unclear.
WE COMPETE FAIRLY.
Fair Dealing. SMS Assist believes in competing fairly and within legal boundaries. We build market share and customer loyalty by delivering quality products and services, and we seek to avoid unfairly restricting a competitor’s ability to compete against us.
SMS Assist employees should never enter into any agreement or understanding, whether written or oral, with a competitor to:
- Set prices on our products and services (price fixing)
- Divide territories, markets, or customers (allocation schemes)
- Reduce or eliminate competition in a competitive bidding process (bid rigging)
- Prevent another company from entering the market or agree with competitors to boycott another company (group boycotts)
Avoid even the appearance that any of our pricing decisions are influenced by information exchanged with a competitor. Deal fairly and honestly with our customers. Never take advantage of anyone by manipulating or concealing information, misrepresenting material facts, abusing confidential information, or doing anything else that could be perceived as unfair or deceptive.
Competitive Intelligence. Gathering and using information about competitors, often called competitive intelligence, is a legitimate business practice. We like to know what our competitors are doing to help us compete and maintain our industry position, but obtaining such information must be done lawfully and ethically. Use public or other permitted sources and be honest about who you are and who you work for. Respect another company’s right to protect its confidential information. For example, we shouldn’t ask new employees to reveal confidential information about a prior employer or to provide information that would cause them to violate any obligation of confidentiality or a non-disclosure agreement. If you have a question about appropriate receipt or use of competitive intelligence, contact your manager.
Honest Advertising and Marketing. We are responsible for accurately representing SMS Assist and our products and services in our marketing, advertising, and sales materials. Deliberately misleading communications, omissions of important facts, or false claims about our products and services or those of our competitors are inconsistent with our values. When it becomes necessary to compare our products to those of our competitors, we endeavor to make factual and accurate statements that can be easily verified or reasonably relied upon.
WE PROHIBIT BRIBERY.
Corruption and Bribery. We expect all employees to act ethically and we do not tolerate bribery.
The United States and many other countries have laws that prohibit bribery, kickbacks, and other improper payments. Commercial bribery involves a situation where anything of value is given to a current or prospective business partner with the intent to improperly obtain business or corruptly influence a business decision. “Anything of value” is not limited to a cash payment but can also include gifts, travel, excessive meals or entertainment, offers of employment, political contributions, and other similar items or offers involving an employee’s personal gain. This does not include normal business practices for the Company’s benefit, such as entering into referral agreements or offering customer rebates. Regardless of what laws may permit, no SMS Assist employee, officer, agent, or independent contractor acting on our behalf may offer, provide, or accept bribes or other improper benefits in order to obtain business or an unfair advantage.
What does that mean in practice?
- No public sector bribery. Don’t engage in any form of bribery of government officials. For example, don’t pay or offer to pay anything to someone who works for the government to improperly influence their actions, to, for example, give us favorable treatment in getting a permit, ignore regulatory issues, or award us government business.
- No private sector bribery. Don’t engage in commercial bribery, for instance, by paying “kickbacks” to customers to obtain business.
- No facilitation payments. Facilitation payments are small payments made to government officials at any level to speed up the performance of a routine government action, such as visa processing or customs clearance. Don’t offer facilitation payments, no matter where we are doing business.
- No accepting bribes. Refuse to accept any sorts of bribes or improper payments.
In short, never offer, pay, promise to pay or accept anything of value, either directly or indirectly, given in an attempt to sway a person’s actions or decisions. For example, if a third party suggests or implies that a bribe will be necessary to close a sale or maintain supplier or customer loyalty, don’t do it: stop the communications with the supplier or customer immediately and report the unethical conduct to your manager.
WE AVOID CONFLICTS OF INTEREST.
Conflicts of Interest. We believe business decisions should be made with integrity and not be influenced by a conflict of interest. All employees must conduct themselves in such a way as to avoid actual or potential conflicts of interest. This means that employees should always act in the best interest of SMS Assist and not permit outside interests (for example, financial or personal interests) to interfere with their job duties. Employees are responsible for ensuring that their business decisions are based on how those decisions will benefit SMS Assist, not how they might benefit employees personally.
A conflict of interest occurs when our outside interests interfere with our ability to make sound, unbiased decisions on behalf of the Company. At SMS Assist, we seek to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Examples of actual or potential conflicts of interest include, but are not limited to:
- Acting as a director, officer, consultant, agent or employee of a supplier, customer, competitor or any entity that engages in business with the Company;
- Owning a material interest in or being a creditor of or having other financial interest in a supplier, customer, competitor or any entity that engages in business with the Company;
- Receiving from or giving to any supplier, customer or competitor gifts, gratuities, special allowances, discounts or other advantages not generally available to employees of the Company;
- Having any significant direct or indirect personal interest in a business transaction involving the Company;
- Conducting outside activities that materially detract from or interfere with the full and timely performance of an employee's job duties for the Company;
- Influencing commercial transactions involving purchases, contracts or leases in a way that would have a negative impact on the Company or its business.
Many actual or potential conflicts of interest may be resolved. If you find that you have, or are considering the assumption of, a financial interest or outside employment relationship that might involve a conflict of interest, or if you are in doubt concerning the proper application of this policy, you should promptly discuss the matter with Human Resources and refrain from exercising responsibility on the Company’s behalf in any manner that might reasonably be considered to be affected by any adverse interest.