Tim Cook urges employees to refresh themselves on Apple’s code of conduct in video message


Apple executives have reached out to employees today in a company wide email urging them to review Apple’s Business Conduct Policy, a document describing how employees should conduct themselves in and outside the company while representing Apple. An email from Apple’s SVP and General Counsel Bruce Sewell (below) was accompanied by a new version of the policy available to employees in iBooks format and a video from CEO Tim Cook discussing the policy.

It’s unclear if there was a situation at Apple that could have prompted the email and video from Apple executives to employees. Apple notes that the policy “explains in very clear terms how you are expected to conduct yourself with our customers, business partners, government agencies, and fellow employees.” The document also covers legal principles  “like antitrust and anti-corruption laws” that all employees are expected to follow.

In the video, Tim Cook quotes Martin Luther King Jr saying “The time is always right to do what is right” and urges employees to speak up about other employees not following the code of conduct. Cook’s full quote from the video below:

As Dr. Martin Luther King once said, the time is always right to do what’s right. At Apple, we do the right thing. Even when it’s not easy. If you see something that doesn’t meet our standards, speak up. Whether it’s a quality issue or a business practice, if it affects Apple’s integrity, we need to know about it.

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Product and company related leaks have been one source of frustration for Apple executives related to employees breaking the code of conduct. Last year Tim Cook vowed to “double down” on secrecy of products, but details for the majority of Apple’s major new product launches, including the new iPhone 5S and 5C, continued to leak out. Tim Cook has since mentioned leaks to employees with one source telling us Cook referred to leaks as the “enemy” during a town hall meeting at Apple earlier this year.

The Business Conduct Policy covers conflicts of interest such as personal investments, workplace relationships, outside employment and inventions, as well as rules regarding harassment and discrimination, insider trading, and substance abuse. It also includes Apple’s policies for employees related to public speaking, press inquiries, publishing articles, and endorsements.

The full email from Apple’s SVP and General Counsel Bruce Sewell  is below:

Apple Team,

I am writing to ask you to do something very important — set aside a little time to review Apple’s Business Conduct Policy.  It explains in very clear terms how you are expected to conduct yourself with our customers, business partners, government agencies, and fellow employees.  We expect every Apple employee to understand and comply with these rules.

The Policy is based on Apple’s core values of honesty, respect, confidentiality, and the critical obligation of every Apple employee to adhere to legal principles, like antitrust and anti-corruption laws.  Living by it is how we earn the trust of our customers and partners and how we keep Apple a great place to work.

The Business Conduct group has developed a new version of the Policy in iBooks format.  The book is convenient and engaging with galleries, video, audio and multi-touch widgets all designed to help you learn about Apple’s principles of business conduct.  You can download the new book via Switchboard, or access a web-version here.

If you have questions, or information about conduct you think may violate the Policy, don’t be afraid to speak up. Talk to your manager, your HR representative, or contact the Business Conduct Helpline — which can be done anonymously.

Thank you in advance for treating this seriously and taking responsibility for demonstrating high integrity in every aspect of Apple’s business.

Bruce Sewell

SVP and General Counsel

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  1. taoprophet420 - 9 years ago

    13 inch iPad pro in March leaks?

  2. Felonius NoSpamius - 9 years ago

    I’d be happy if they showered and wore shoes instead of flip-flops, and also stop flaming out at every chance in Jacksonville stores.

  3. estudioexpo - 9 years ago

    Clearly, this is a about the case in Italy (tax fraud). It’s a gulty confession. He does not want to have that kind of practices indoors.

    • goldleader1 - 9 years ago

      They make the employees review this every year, it is not in response to anything that happened. I have taken it the last 5 years.

  4. macmaniman - 9 years ago

    i would like to read that ibook

  5. Adam Cohen (@AJCVC) - 9 years ago

    Is Tim Cook wearing a new prototype of Google Glass?

    • tallestskil - 9 years ago

      Yep. Infinite battery life, 0x0 screen resolution, but the augmented reality capabilities are phenomenal.

  6. jesteinf - 9 years ago

    Publicly-traded companies routinely remind employees of corporate codes of conduct. It should happen every year or two as a matter of good corporate governance.

  7. Robert Ruitenberg - 9 years ago

    Not à moment too soon, recently I visited Apple stores in Nice France, Munich Germany and Amsterdam, Netherlands. In every store employees walking around refused to let you pay with them, you have to queue in lines with 12-15 people and only 1 person behind the counter. In all cases I politely asked if they could have a colleague to help as well. The answer was the same in all 3, being a shrug with their shoulders, meaning what do I care, take it or leave it.
    This arrogant behavior in all 3 stores made me decide that next I will think about switching brands.

  8. truth42 - 9 years ago

    CAPTION COMPETITION: ‘The new iPad Pro is going to be this big…’

  9. rogifan - 9 years ago

    You guys obviously have never worked for a large company where this is standard fare and employees are asked to review this stuff every year. I hope whoever is leaking to you is fired.

  10. bloggerblogg - 9 years ago

    I think it was the awkwardly silly jesting from Apple’s top-brass as they presented iWork during the latest keynote.


Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & Electrek.co. He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.