Best Buy’s ‘system of internal controls’

It’s day two of the Best Buy “scandal” involving the company’s CEO. Brian Dunn left the company after it was learned he was having an apparently inappropriate relationship with another employee.

“The purview of the audit committee investigating Dunn’s conduct includes financial matters and determining whether personal relationships between superiors and subordinates violate company policy,” MPR’s Martin Moylan writes today.

In other words: Did they date or have sex, a read of the company’s ethics policy suggests.

According to Best Buy’s ethics policy, “social” relationships between a supervisor and an employee are “discouraged,” as opposed to “prohibited.” What’s prohibited? Good question.

Here’s the company policy on the subject:

2. Close and Personal Relationships Within the Company – Social relationships between employees who have direct or indirect reporting relationships to each other are discouraged. In addition, social relationships are also prohibited if the reporting relationship leads to a situation that creates an actual weakness, or the appearance of a weakness, in the Company’s system of internal controls. The determination as to whether a relationship creates a weakness in the Company’s system of internal controls is at the discretion of Company management and the Audit Committee of the Best Buy Board of Directors. Employees must disclose these relationships to their managers in order to address them appropriately. Some examples include “dating,” attempting to “date” and engaging in close physical relationships or other forms of romantic, physical or sexual contact with each other. This list is not all inclusive; ask for guidance if you have questions about a specific situation.

It is obviously stated that “dating,” attempting to “date” and “engaging in close physical relationships or other forms of romantic, physical or sexual contact with each other” would be “prohibited.”

But the policy says employees have to disclose them to their managers to “address them properly.” But if they’re prohibited, what’s to address?

Whatever it is that hasn’t been determined, will apparently take a couple of weeks to determine it.

  • John P.

    I have always thought these things are written to protect the company from lawsuits while doing what it wants, not to give employees actual guidance, Vague and confusing language might serve that purpose.