At IBM, we have always set high standards for the way we conduct business – in areas from corporate and social responsibility to sound business ethics, including compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
These Conduct Principles apply to all IBM employees. However, they are not meant to describe the full scope of IBM human resource policies or practices. More detailed statements of policies, procedures and practices are contained in documents such as the IBM Business Conduct Guidelines. Employees are required to comply with all IBM policies, procedures and practices at all times and are responsible for consulting their management if they have any questions.
Our goal is to ensure full compliance with these principles by IBM managers and employees. A companion to this document, the IBM Supplier Conduct Principles, governs our relationships with and standards for IBM suppliers.
Freely Chosen Employment
Forced, bonded (including debt bondage) or indentured labor; involuntary prison labor; slavery or trafficking of persons shall not be used. This includes transporting, harboring, recruiting, transferring, or receiving persons by means of threat, force, coercion, abduction or fraud for labor or services. There shall be no unreasonable restrictions on workers’ freedom of movement in the facility in addition to unreasonable restrictions on entering or exiting company-provided facilities. As part of the hiring process, workers must be provided with a written employment agreement in their native language that contains a description of terms and conditions of employment prior to the worker departing from his or her country of origin. Employment is voluntary and employees shall be free to terminate their employment at any time. Employers and agents may not hold or otherwise destroy, conceal, confiscate, or deny access by employees to employees’ identity or immigration documents, such as government-issued identification, passports, or work permits, unless such holdings are required by law. Workers shall not be required to pay employers’ or agents’ recruitment fees or other related fees for their employment. If any such fees are found to have been paid by workers, such fees shall be repaid to the worker.
IBM will not use child labor. The term “child” refers to any employed person under the age of 16, or under the age for completing compulsory education, or under the minimum age for employment in the country, whichever is greatest. We support the use of legitimate workplace learning, internship, and other similar programs which comply with all laws and regulations applicable to such programs. Employees under the age of 18 (Young Workers) shall not perform work that is likely to jeopardize their health or safety including night shift and overtime. IBM shall ensure proper management of student workers through proper maintenance of student records, rigorous due diligence of educational partners, and protection of students’ rights in accordance with applicable law and regulations, and will provide appropriate support and training to all student workers. In the absence of local law, the wage rate for student workers, interns, and apprentices shall be at least the same wage rate as other entry level workers performing equal or similar tasks. In the unlikely event an instance of child labor is discovered, the matter will be referred to the VP, Global Recruitment and the VP, Employee and Labor Relations for immediate corrective action.
Wages and Benefits
IBM will, at a minimum, comply with all applicable wage and hour laws and regulations, including those relating to minimum wages, overtime hours, piece rates, non exempt or exemption classification and other elements of compensation, and provide legally mandated benefits. The pay which employees receive will be reflected in a timely and understandable manner via a pay statement or similar documentation that includes sufficient information to verify accurate compensation for work performed, including overtime compensation and its calculation if appropriate. All use of temporary, dispatch and outsourced labor will be within the limits of the local law.
IBM will not exceed maximum hours of work prescribed by law and will appropriately compensate overtime. Employees will not be required to work more than 60 hours per week, including overtime, except in extraordinary business circumstances with their consent or where the nature of the position requires such work, such as for exempt employees and employees in executive, managerial or professional positions. In countries where the maximum work week is shorter, that standard shall apply. Employees shall be allowed at least one day off during every seven day work week.
Non-discrimination and Harassment
IBM will not discriminate in hiring, promotion, training, compensation of employees and employment practices on grounds of race, color, religion, age, nationality, social or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and expression, marital status, pregnancy, political affiliation, union membership, protected genetic information or disability, or covered veteran status. IBM will create a work environment free of discrimination or harassment based on the noted categories. Workers shall be provided with reasonable accommodation for religious practices. In addition, workers or potential workers should not be subjected to medical tests or physical exams that could be used in a discriminatory way.
Respect and Dignity
IBM will treat all employees with respect and dignity and will not use corporal punishment, threats of violence, or other forms of abuse, physical coercion or harassment. Disciplinary policies and practices in support of these requirements shall be clearly defined and communicated to workers.
Freedom of Association
In conformance with local law, IBM will respect the legal rights of all its employees to form and join worker organizations of their own choosing, including labor organizations or trade unions, or to refrain from forming and joining such organizations, for purposes of bargaining collectively and to engage in peaceful assembly. IBM complies with applicable local laws worldwide regarding employee and third-party involvement, and will not discriminate based on an employee’s decision to join or not join a labor organization. IBM respects the rights of employees to organize, and makes managers at all levels aware of those rights. Employees and/or their representatives shall be able to openly communicate and share ideas and concerns with management regarding working conditions and management practices without fear of discrimination, reprisal, intimidation, or harassment. The Company’s long-standing belief is that the interests of IBM and its employees are best served through a favorable, collaborative work environment with direct communication between employees and management. IBM endeavors to establish such favorable employment conditions, to promote positive relationships between employees and managers, to facilitate employee communications, and to support employee development.
Health and Safety
IBM will provide its employees with a safe and healthy workplace in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Consistent with these obligations, IBM will have and implement effective programs that encompass things such as life safety, incident investigation, chemical safety, ergonomics, and provide safe standards of health and safety in any housing and transportation provided for our employees by the company. Workers will be provided health and safety training in their primary language. Health and Safety related information shall be clearly posted in the facility.
Protection of the Environment
IBM will operate in a manner that is protective of the environment. At a minimum, IBM will comply with all applicable environmental laws, regulations and standards, such as requirements regarding chemical and waste management and disposal, recycling, industrial wastewater treatment and discharge, air emissions controls, environmental permits and environmental reporting. IBM will also comply with any additional environmental requirements specific to the products or services being provided to IBM as called for in design and product specifications, and contract documents.
Laws, including regulations and other legal requirements
IBM will comply with all applicable laws, regulations and other legal requirements in all locations where it conducts business.
IBM expects its employees to conduct business in accordance with the highest ethical standards, and maintains Business Conduct Guidelines that employees are required to follow. IBM strictly complies with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and all laws and regulations on bribery, corruption and prohibited business practices. IBM does not offer employment or any other form of work experience (paid or unpaid) in exchange for obtaining business or other advantages for IBM. IBM Global Procurement maintains IBM’s policy regarding conflict minerals.
IBM makes available to all employees open communications channels for suggestions and complaints to management. IBM maintains channels for direct contact with the Corporate Office for employee complaints, including any form of harassment including sexual harassment.
IBM will perform business audits to ensure adherence to our policies, practices and procedures. We will keep records in accordance with local laws and regulations.
IBM is committed to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of information about its employees. IBM recognizes that under the laws of some countries certain information about employees, such as information regarding racial or ethnic origin, political opinions or philosophical beliefs, trade-union membership, and health or sex life, should be considered “sensitive.” Whenever possible, such sensitive information should be processed in aggregate or anonymous form so that a particular individual is not identifiable. Where this is not feasible, IBM will only process the information in accordance with applicable local law (and any designated safeguards provided therein); and with employee consent where required; or where necessary for the establishment, exercise or defense of legal claims. All employees are expected to use information about IBM clients, suppliers, and business partners in accordance with their job responsibilities and the IBM Business Conduct Guidelines.
Support for employees and community involvement
IBM provides numerous programs for employees to encourage and enhance the positive impact of their community involvement. These global programs include: On Demand Community, a suite of online tools and resources to support employee volunteerism; Community Grants, a program that awards long-term volunteer commitments with grants of cash or IBM equipment; and Matching Grants, a program through which IBM matches employee grants to schools and nonprofit organizations.
Formal corporate policies issued by the IBM Chief Executive Officer, or the senior officer he or she directs, govern company-wide actions within IBM and actions with all third parties. Our corporate policies reflect IBM’s values and the resulting management system within which our decisions are made.
This instruction applies to all IBM corporate functions, business units, and wholly owned subsidiaries, and majority owned subsidiaries which are subject to the IBM Business Conduct Guidelines.
In effect since February 20, 2018; replaces earlier policy dated April 1, 2016.