October 7, 2015
After Google’s 11 years invoking Dr. Evil, the new Alphabet (GOOG), walked away from the infamous “Don’t be evil” code of conduct to the kinder, gentler, more politically correct “do the right thing.”
The change in mottos came amid a series of documents the vendor submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as it completed the necessary paperwork to finalize Alphabet’s status as a multi-operation holding company.
Afterwards, the vendor posted its rather lengthy new code of conduct online for all to see. Alphabet’s guidelines are fairly straightforward and stick to three basic tenets: Avoid Conflicts of Interest, Ensure Financial Integrity and Responsibility, and Obey the Law.
Still, it’s the first section, a Preface, that stands out, especially considering how Google’s prior code of conduct has drawn criticism from those who regard the company as evil. This opening section includes the following wording:
“Employees of Alphabet and its subsidiaries and controlled affiliates (“Alphabet”) should do the right thing – follow the law, act honorably, and treat each other with respect.
“We expect all of our employees and Board members to know and follow this Code of Conduct. Failure to do so can result in disciplinary action, including termination of employment. Any waivers of this Code for directors or executive officers must be approved by our Board.
“Never retaliate against anyone who reports or participates in an investigation of a possible violation of the Code.”
As majority of Alphabet employs are Google search and advertising staffers still abiding by the “don’t be evil,” mantra, Alphabet left open that its subsidiaries or affiliates may have alternate codes of conduct for employees and, therefore, varying corporate cultures.
“Individual Alphabet companies may of course have their own codes to ensure they continue to promote compliance and great values,” a Google spokesman told the Wall Street Journal. “But if they start bringing cats to work, there’s gonna be trouble with a capital T.”
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