Avoiding Conflicts of Interest
Flex is a company built on relationships. Those relationships are built on trust.
As a trusted partner to our customers and business associates, we have a duty to avoid conflicts of interest. Conflicts of interest can undermine or harm our relationships, both within and outside Flex. We avoid pursuing any activities that may create a conflict of interest, or even the appearance of one.
As Flex employees, we must:
- Always communicate potential conflicts of interest immediately to our direct manager and disclose them using the Conflict of Interest Tool
- Never take for ourselves business opportunities that could be used by Flex or that are discovered by virtue of our employment or through the use of Flex assets
- Never use Flex assets or information for personal gain or for the benefit of a family member or friend
What is a conflict of interest?
A “conflict of interest” exists when an individual’s personal relationship could conflict with the best interests of Flex, or could appear to improperly affect decisions on behalf of Flex. Conflicts or appearances of conflicts can cause serious harm to Flex or damage our reputation or interests.
Keep in mind that the relationships and interests of our partners, immediate family and close friends can also create an actual or potential conflict of interest. These should be disclosed to Flex.
Examples of potential conflicts of interest
A family member, partner or close friend of a Flex employee is, or wants to become, a Flex employee or business affiliate.
A Flex employee or a family member, partner or close friend of a Flex employee owns or wants to buy stock in a company that competes, does business with or wants to do business with Flex.
A Flex employee or a family member, partner or close friend of a Flex employee is interested in a business opportunity that Flex is also interested in.
A Flex employee or a family member, partner or close friend of a Flex employee wants to take a leadership or board role at another for-profit or non-profit company.
A Flex employee or a family member, partner or close friend of a Flex employee wants to take on a second job or consult for another company or non-profit.
I’ve always been on the lookout for good business opportunities. Years ago, before I started working at Flex, I purchased a small interest in a company that makes cleaning products. I went through the entire hiring process here at Flex and never even thought about it. It turns out that this company is a supplier for Flex, in our floor care business. I didn’t even know that was a sector we competed in! Now I feel like I made a mistake in not disclosing my interest. What should I do?
You should disclose your financial stake in this company immediately. Your financial interest in a Flex supplier is a potential conflict of interest. Talk with your manager about next steps, and be honest about how you came to be in your situation. Disclosure is always the best response to a potential conflict of interest.
In addition, having a family or romantic relationship with another Flex employee may also constitute a conflict of interest. Pursuant to Flex’s Relationships at Work Policy, such a relationship must be disclosed to HR and management. It is never appropriate for employees in the same reporting line to have a family or romantic relationship.