Although conflicts of interest are not uncommon in the workplace, they can be harmful to a business if they are not appropriately managed.

A conflict of interest exists when an employee’s private interests interfere with their performance of their duties. For example, it may give them a personal advantage. It is important to note a conflict of interest can be an actual, perceived or potential conflict of interest.

Some examples of conflict of interest in the workplace include:

    an employee recommending a friend for an advertised position
    an employee starting up their own business on the side with similar products or services
    a supervisor dating a staff member
    a manager not disclosing that a candidate applying for a position is a relative or close friend
    an employee accepting a gift from a supplier in exchange for business over other suppliers
    an employee failing to disclose a second job which conflicts with the business

Creating a code of conduct is one of the best ways to address conflicts of interest.

A code of conduct provides guidelines explaining your business’ culture, mission and expectations for professional behaviour.

You can include what is classified as a conflict of interest including examples and how they will be managed, i.e., disclosing a conflict of interest to a manager.

*** This publication is for guidance only, and professional advice should be obtained before acting on any information contained herein. Neither the publishers nor the distributors can accept any responsibility for loss occasioned to any person as a result of action taken or refrained from in consequence of the contents of this publication. Publication date July 2018.

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