Business Conduct Guidelines

Every year, IBM has all its employees read through its Business Conduct Guidelines, certify that they have read them and will live by them, and take a quick quiz. It sometimes feels like an unnecessary chore, but there are usually a couple of sections that I find cheer me up when I read them.

The first is this one, which seems to get longer every year:

IBM strives to maintain a healthy, safe and productive work environment which is free from discrimination and harassment, whether based on race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or any other factors that are unrelated to IBM’s legitimate business interests.

The second is this one:

IBM will not make contributions, payments or otherwise give
any endorsement or support which would be considered a contribution, directly or indirectly, to political parties or candidates, including through intermediary organizations, such as political action committees, campaign funds, or trade or industry associations. […] In many countries, political contributions by corporations are illegal, though IBM will not make such contributions even where they are legal.

You must not make any political contribution as a representative of IBM. You may not request reimbursement from IBM, nor will IBM reimburse you, for any personal contributions you make.

Even before the Supreme Court blocked limits on corporate political donations, it seemed to be taken as a law of the universe that corporations would naturally want to funnel cash towards politicians in order to get favors. In a world where some employers even go as far as telling employees who to vote for, it’s refreshing to work for a company that stays out of the political murk.