Following the March 10 confirmation of Merrick Garland as the United States’ new Attorney General (AG), Bass, Berry & Sims attorneys John Kelly and Jacquelyn Papish authored an article for Chief Executive discussing Garland’s probable enforcement priorities and what businesses can do now to prepare.
Under Garland’s leadership, the Department of Justice (DOJ) will likely refocus priorities to include corporate and related individual conduct. This means corporate America can and should expect greater oversight and involvement by the DOJ, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal agencies in the coming months, as well as a continued focus on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and healthcare fraud.
In the article, the authors recommend the following preemptive steps companies can take now as Garland digs into his new role:
- Review written policies, procedures, and standards to ensure they are in compliance with all current applicable laws and regulations.
- Designate a compliance officer and compliance committee (if you don’t have one yet).
- Provide to all employees a refresher training of written policies, procedures, and standards.
- Confirm all employees’ compliance certifications are up-to-date.
- Ensure effective and open lines of communication exist (g., a hotline for reporting misconduct and policy violations).
- Conduct an internal audit to ensure ongoing internal monitoring is up to snuff.
- Monitor updates or changes to DOJ corporate compliance evaluation guidance (last released in June 2020).
The full article, “What’s Next for Corporate America: The Garland Effect,” was published by Chief Executive on March 24 and is available online.