A corporate cell phone store is most likely not the first institution you would think of on the topic of ethics codes. In the world of psychology the APA code of ethics is elaborate and imperative to healthy relationships between psychologist or social worker and patient. In the world of AT&T there is a code of ethics that is just as important as the APA code of ethics is to psychology.
The Code of Business Conduct (COBC) is the code of ethics that employees are required to follow in their daily duties. The Code of business conduct is designed to protect the sensitive information of the customers at AT&T. It is wildly important that all employees follow the COBC. Committing a COBC violation can be grounds for immediate termination.
Not many people immediately think to protect themselves from threats like identity theft at a place like AT&T. Most people go to cell phone stores to shop for phones, just like they would shop for clothes at the mall. Despite the innocent nature of purchasing a cell phone, the risk of identity theft can be high. Every account is attached to someone’s social security number. The accounts are initially set up based on a line of credit. If any kind of sensitive information is left out, customers are at risk. This is where the COBC comes in. The COBC involves taking measures like discarding documents with information in a locked trash can, only entering accounts with valid identification of the account holders themselves and many more preventative measures. If the COBC is followed in detail, our customers are thoroughly protected.
The nature of the COBC is very similar to parts of the APA code of ethics. There is a section specifically dedicated to how to properly handle confidential documentation. In the 2002 version of the ethics code section 6 details these guidelines. Guidelines like making sure databases with confidential information are encrypted and many others resemble the idea in the COBC that a customers’ information must not be left anywhere that might give the public access to it (APA, 2002).
The idea that someone could be terminated for violating the COBC is something that leadership would have to face in a very black and white setting. A leader might come across having to deal with a COBC violation with an employee or team member and have to make the decision to follow proper protocol as listed by the COBC. It would be unethical of a leader to ignore a serious COBC violation, almost as unethical as the violation itself. It is not only up to the employees themselves to follow the COBC, but it is up to leadership to hold their employees accountable. Without proper leadership keeping track of this version of an ethics code, customers face the risk of their private information being open to the public. Accountability is everything when it comes to any kind of code of ethics.
American Psychological Association. (2002, December). Redline comparison of APA ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct, December 1992 and December 2002. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/92-02codecompare.pdf
AT&T Code of Business Conduct, 2014. Retrieved from https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/media/en/gui/12880/code.pdf.