CEO message :
Everywhere in the world where SYNERGIE is present, our ambition has always been to place ethics at the center of our activities in compliance with laws and regulations. It is a concern driven by our core values in our business relationships, which are transparency and integrity.
This involvement of the Group is not new. We signed the Diversity Charter in 2012, then we designed our Ethics charter in 2014, our Code of Ethics in 2015 and we joined the principles of the United Nations Global Compact in 2017.
SYNERGIE demonstrates its ethical commitment through the assertion and communication of the values that guide the Group and each Employee daily: proximity, team spirit, diversity and ambition.
Today, we are taking another step forward with this Code of Ethics and Business Conduct. It presents and describes the behaviors to that each SYNERGIE Employee should adopt within the Group, internally and with our stakeholders, to comply with legal obligations and to prevent any non-compliant practices that may have a negative impact on our activity’s sustainability and on the reputation of the Group. It serves as a reference to guide our decision.
To be respected, this Code must be known by each of us and receive the support of everyone, regardless of one’s role within the Company.
Thus, I am asking you to read it, to impregnate it and to make it live. Consult it whenever you have doubts or questions on an assignment you are performing on behalf of the Group. Your managers and your Compliance Officer are there to provide you necessary guidance to properly apply the Code.
This ethical requirement is our common good and the most certain assurance to proudly continue the success of our Group.
2 THE CODE’S OBJECTIVES
This Code of Ethics and Business Conduct (the “Code”) constitutes a base of common references that addresses the rules of conduct in line with the Group’s Corporate Social Responsibility policy, and in compliance with the Law No. 2016-1691 of the 9 December 2016 on the fight against corruption.
It must guide Employees to determine their behavior in specific situations, sometimes complex, in light of some clear and precise principles.
The Code calls for everyone’s responsibility and may represent, where appropriate, a decision-making support. It aims to recall the framework in which our daily actions must stand.
The Code is not intended to replace the national and international standards in force in each country where the Group operates. The Code is meant to complement them and it forms a set of rules that must be respected in all circumstances by all Employees.
Each Employee is responsible for ensuring that SYNERGIE’s activities, which are a part of his or her duties, are carried out in compliance with applicable local laws and regulations and in accordance with the principles described in the Code. Failure to comply with this Code will be subject to sanctions, under the conditions set out in each Rules of Procedures.
Compliance with the Code applies to all Employees of the Group, regardless their hierarchical level in France and abroad.
Each entity is responsible for implementing the Code and for deploying its guidelines according to the specificities of its activities and / or geographic location, as well as applicable laws and regulations. It must take the necessary measures to inform its Employees of the responsibilities and obligations arising from it.
Each Employee must know, understand and strictly adhere to the principles and rules that the Code sets forth, and must behave with an exemplary professional ethic.
4 SYNERGIE GROUP’S VALUES
Since its creation, the SYNERGIE Group has never stopped defending and promoting universal values that it considers essential to its sustainable development.
The SYNERGIE Group's first requirements are those of loyalty, transparency and probity, in accordance with the fundamental principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the principles of the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for Multinational Enterprises and the United Nations Global Compact. These requirements are perfectly in line with the commitments imposed by the law of 9 December 2016 on the fight against corruption.
Beyond this general framework, Employees’ daily behavior must be consistent with the four values of the SYNERGIE Group, namely:
- - Proximity « Listening and knowing our customers, as well as candidates and temporary workers to better support, understand and value them ».
- - Team Spirit « Our Employees’ collective commitment and their engagement to realize our customers’, candidates’ and temporary workers’ projects, to know their objectives and to achieve them together ».
- Diversity « Les compétences avant les différences : chaque collaborateur est unique et le Groupe SYNERGIE accompagne le développement de chacun (permanents, candidats et intérimaires) pour la réussite de tous.
Signatory of the Diversity Charter, the Group strives to develop the integration and employability of all through the establishment of Diversity Divisions, as well as in its internal recruitment ».
- Ambition « Skills before differences: each Employee is unique and the SYNERGIE Group supports the development of each (Employees, candidates and temporary workers) for the success of all. ».
Protection of our environment is also a strong commitment of the executive management that it shared with all Employees through internal communication.
4.1 RULES OF INTERNAL CONDUCT
4.1.1 Working conditions, Health & Safety
The SYNERGIE Group pays great attention to the working conditions of their Employees. In particular, it undertakes to comply with the applicable laws regarding hygiene, health and safety at work and to take all reasonable precautions to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for everyone.
From their side, all Employees must ensure that their actions do not cause any risk for themselves or for others. They must also report to their management any behavior, installation or potential risk that could compromise the safety of their work environment, as well as any accident or incident they may be aware.
SYNERGIE strives to promote equal treatment among all Employees and to have fair employment practices. It refuses any form of discrimination on grounds of origin, morals, age, gender, political or religious opinions, trade union membership or disability.
In terms of politics, philosophy and religion, SYNERGIE claims neutrality within its organization. The beliefs and opinions of the Employees are respected, as well as their demonstration, as long as they do not undermine its proper functioning, its principle of neutrality and do not constitute acts of proselytism.
Regarding the respect of religious festivals, SYNERGIE refers to the legal framework of the various countries in which it is established.
Any discrimination of an Employee against other Employees for any reason is forbidden.
4.1.3 Prevention of harassment
The SYNERGIE Group forbids the recourse to any mental or physical pressure, as well as any form of harassment. All gestures or statements that are sexually suggestive are forbidden.
No professional situation can justify acts of denigration, violence, offensive language or sexist acts.
SYNERGIE values mutual respect between Employees regardless of their level of responsibility and asks each of them to pay attention to their comments and actions towards others.
These principles apply to all Employees and all managers who are the first responsible.
4.1.4 Social dialogue
SYNERGIE acknowledges the importance of having freely elected independent interlocutors representing the Employees, with whom establish a regular social dialogue on the subjects related to the functioning of the entities, having an impact on employment and work conditions.
4.1.5 Respect of privacy
SYNERGIE respects the legal framework regarding working hours and the right to rest. It aims to promote the virtues of a good balance between private and professional life.
In order to respect the privacy of its Employees, SYNERGIE is committed to ensuring the confidentiality of individual information about Employees, collected or held by the company. In compliance with Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, each Employee has a right of access, rectification, portability and erasure of personal information. The Employee takes note that he will exercise this same right on all material or immaterial documents held in the company and containing his personal data.
For any questions or additional information, the Employees can refer to the Data Protection Officer.
Thus, any person holding personal data concerning other Employees by his / her function must ensure to keep only the data strictly necessary for the legal obligations of the company and in optimal security conditions, in accordance with SYNERGIE Data Protection policy.
It must also ensure that these data are only disclosed to authorized persons and only when necessary, and that these data are protected from the people outside the SYNERGIE Group, except in the case of legal obligation.
4.1.6 Training, promotion and equity
The development of the professional skills and the individual responsibilities of the Employees is a necessary condition for the company’s success. The Group is highly concerned with equal opportunities and fair treatment, based on the recognition of merit and performance.
Le Groupe encourage la progression de ses Collaborateurs, notamment par le biais de la formation, de la promotion et de la mobilité interne qui permet de renforcer leur employabilité. The Group encourages the growth of its Employees, particularly through training, promotion, and internal mobility, which enhances their employability.
4.1.7 Protection of assets
Employees have the duty to help protect and preserve SYNERGIE Group’s assets against any degradation, theft or misappropriation, and also not to misappropriate or make personal use of these assets.
Assets include not only physical assets such as buildings, installations, machinery, vehicles, equipment, computers and information systems, supplies of all kinds, but also immaterial goods such as intellectual property (brands, logos, slogans, ...), and the expertise of the SYNERGIE Group.
4.1.8 Protection of the Company’s reputation
The quality of the SYNERGIE Group's corporate image and the reputation of its services determine its long-term future.
4.1.9 Confidentiality - discretion
Employees may have access to information belonging to or relating to the SYNERGIE Group and which must remain confidential as far as their disclosure could be prejudicial to the interests of SYNERGIE Group. This information may include studies, projects, commercial and financial information, customers, the organization, the management of the company, its activities, its products, as well as any elements likely to be intellectual property and expertise.
It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure the confidentiality of this information by preventing themselves from:
- direct or indirect transmission to the outside of the SYNERGIE Group;
- communication to persons employed within the SYNERGIE Group who are not authorized to have such information.
4.1.10 Insider information
Personal use of insider information about SYNERGIE Group or third parties, which is known to an Employee in the course of or in connection with his / her duties, is not only unethical but may also constitute insider trading reprehensible by law.
Insider information is specific information about SYNERGIE Group, which is not public and which could have a significant influence on the price of related financial instruments.
The commitment of all SYNERGIE Group Employees to take into account and reduce the negative impacts of their activity on the environment is a guarantee of sustainable development. The protection of the environment is thus a fundamental principle, applicable at all stages of the SYNERGIE Group's activities. This commitment is supported by each Employee who, through the respect of the recommendations of the Eco-Citizen Booklet and participation to the newsletter, contributes to the environmental approach.
4.2 RULES OF EXTERNAL CONDUCT
4.2.1 COMPLIANCE IN BUSINESS RELATIONS
18.104.22.168 Respect of free & fair competition
Competition law aims at preserving free competition by prohibiting certain practices such as market sharing, price fixing or abuse of dominant positions that have the effect of disadvantaging customers, suppliers and / or competitors. Infringement of competition regulations is subject to substantial financial penalties (fines) and, in some cases, criminal penalties for the Group as well as for the individuals involved who may also incur prison sentences. Any practice aimed to restrain competition is forbidden.
22.214.171.124 Securing relations with third parties
SYNERGIE may contract with companies or intermediaries, work with partners, or acquire businesses. To avoid being held responsible for wrongdoings committed by third parties acting on its behalf, it is therefore necessary to be careful in our relations with third parties.
Third parties are: business partners, suppliers, service providers, agents, customers, intermediaries, subcontractors, charities.
Management of third parties
Our service providers and subcontractors can have a major impact on the quality of SYNERGIE's services and image. It is therefore necessary that they conduct their activities in compliance with the law and the highest ethical standards in all areas (fight against corruption, conflicts of interest, health and environment, respect for people ...).
4.2.2 A. FIGHTING BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION
Corruption is the offering, promising, giving, authorizing or accepting of any undue pecuniary or other advantage to, by or for any of public and private individuals in order to obtain or retain a business or other improper advantage, e.g. in connection with public or private procurement contract awards, regulatory permits, taxation, customs, judicial and legislative proceedings.
There are two types of corruption:
- - Active corruption is defined as the fact of paying or promising to pay a bribe.
- - Passive corruption entails an individual or entity asking for or accepting an advantage in return for acting or not acting in relation to one’s official duties.
Corruption can take many forms under the guise of business or social practices, such as invitations, gifts, sponsorships, donations, etc.
Influence peddling occurs when a person who has real or apparent influence on the decision-making of a third parties exchanges this influence for an undue advantage. Three actors are involved: the beneficiary (the one who gives undue advantages), the intermediary (the one who takes advantage of his influence owing to his position) and the target individual who makes the decision (public authority or administration, magistrate, expert, etc.)
Facilitation payment is offering or providing anything of value to a government official to secure an unfair business advantage. Any action to obtain permits, licenses, or other official documents to qualify a person to do business in a foreign country and processing governmental papers, such as visas, work orders and custom duties.
Principle and rules
SYNERGIE does not tolerate any act of corruption or influence peddling of any kind. Employees must not commit acts of corruption and must not use intermediaries, such as agents, consultants or any other business partners in order to commit such acts.
To this end, it is prohibited to offer or receive any benefit to individuals or a legal entity, belonging to the public sector or to the private sector, nationally or internationally, and/or to perform any act intended to compromise the impartiality and transparency of any decision-making process, to the benefit, direct or indirect, of the companies of the SYNERGIE Group and / or its Employees.
The company does not tolerate "facilitation payments", except for imperative reasons (health, safety of an Employee ...).
If someone has to face a solicitation, he / she must ask himself / herself:
- Are laws and regulations respected?
- Is it in line with the Code and the company’s interests?
- Is it devoid of personal interest?
- Would I be embarrassed if my decision became public?
126.96.36.199 Specific rules for public officials
A public official is anyone in a position that is conferred by a public authority, with whom SYNERGIE could make a partnership, a public contract or any other business relationship.
The French Criminal Code heavily sanctions public corruption - up to 10 years of prison terms and a fine up to € 1 million. The attempt - for example, of offering or soliciting a bribe - is sanctioned in the same way as the act of bribery.
Principle and rules
The SYNERGIE group is against any planned or proven bribes or other illegal payments, directly or indirectly through intermediaries, to public servants, members of governments or any other public official, as well as to any private law entity, whatever it may be, in order to elicit a favorable decision from them or to obtain any advantage whatsoever for the SYNERGIE Group.
188.8.131.52 Third parties relationship
SYNERGIE Group strictly forbids any direct or indirect act of corruption to, by or for any of public and private individuals during its business activities with third parties (business partners, suppliers, agents, clients, intermediaries, subcontractors, charities). Thus, it is forbidden to give or receive any improper advantage, illicit payment or bank transfer. It is necessary to make sure about third parties expertise and respectability. Anti-corruption clauses must be included in every existing contracts with third parties.
184.108.40.206 Gift & Hospitality
Gifts are advantages of any kind given by someone as a sign of gratitude or friendship, without expecting anything in return.
Hospitality refers to offering or being offered, diner, accommodation and entertainment (shows, concerts, sporting events, travel, etc.).
Principle and rules
Gifts and hospitality may be similar to or perceived as active or passive bribery, so attention should be paid to this matter. If they help to build good relationships, gifts and invitations can be considered as a way to influence a decision, to favor a company or a person.
A process for gifts and invitations has been established to define the different customs and good practices in terms of supply and receipt of gifts and hospitality to and from all types of third parties.
Employees are allowed to donate or accept corporate gifts of reasonable value, such as an occasional meal, an invitation to a social, sporting or cultural event, etc., or participation in an event sponsored by SYNERGIE Group or resulting from a sponsorship initiative. If so, it is necessary to comply with the procedure gifts & hospitality and internal procedures and to inform its line manager.
220.127.116.11 Sponsorship, charitable donations and political contributions
Through sponsorship, SYNERGIE wishes to provide financial or material support for a cause, a social, cultural or sports action to communicate and promote its values.
Donations are benefits given in the form of money and / or benefits; they are allocated for a specific purpose: research, training, the environment (sustainable development), for charitable or humanitarian purposes...
Political contributions - monetary or otherwise - are intended to support political parties, leaders or initiatives.
Principle and rules
SYNERGIE is actively involved in the local community and the company contributes to sponsorship and charitable donations.
Such initiatives can serve to hide undue benefits, such as awarding a contract or a tender in exchange for sponsorship and / or donation. The risk is even greater when the "sponsored" event is undertaken by politicians or their relatives and they benefit personally from this event.
The direct or indirect financing of charitable, cultural, social, humanitarian or sports projects, foundations or associations through patronage, sponsorship and charitable donations is authorized at SYNERGIE, subject to the following conditions:
- The funding complies with the legislation;
- It is in accordance with the internal procedures and approved hierarchically;
- The circumstances and relevance of the actions must be declared in a transparent manner. The financing has to appear clearly in the accounting records.
- It is necessary to follow the achievements of the sponsorship contract (with activity reports for example);
- The amounts are reasonable and appropriate in relation to the purpose of the sponsorship
The direct or indirect contributions of each subsidiary of SYNERGIE to political parties, foundations or associations are strictly prohibited, even if local legislation allows them.
18.104.22.168 Accounting records / Internal controls
SYNERGIE Group must ensure that its accounting departments and / or its internal and / or external auditors are attentive in their controls to the concealment of corruption in the books, registers and accounts.
Principle and rules
To guarantee the reliability and the sincerity of the accounts, it is necessary that:
- SYNERGIE keeps its financial records and implements appropriate internal controls that justify the payment of third parties.
- Employees declare and keep a written record of all invitations or gifts accepted or offered in order to allow an accounting review.
- Employees ensure that any request for payment of invitations, gifts or expenses incurred for a third party are transmitted in accordance with SYNERGIE Group gifts and hospitality procedure. The reason for the expense must be specified in the accounting records.
- All accounts, invoices, notes and other documents and accounting records relating to third parties, such as customers, suppliers or business contacts, must be prepared and maintained with rigour and completeness.
- No account is kept "off the books" in order to facilitate or conceal undue advantages.
4.2.3 CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
22.214.171.124 Prevent conflicts of interest
It is a situation of interference between professional and personal interests that are usually in conflict and is likely to potentially influence the independent, impartial and objective exercise of a duty.
Conflicts of interest arise from any situation in which the personal interests of Employees conflict with their duties or responsibilities.
If they are the cause of favoritism, the conflicts of interest can be considered as an act of corruption. Two forms can be observed:
- Conflict of interest: the fact that an Employee finds himself in a situation where he is able to influence a third party in the performance of his duties (for example recruitment decisions, the award of contracts, etc…), or that it is perceived as such, in order to satisfy a private interest.
- Potential conflict of interest: the fact that an Employee finds himself in a situation where he is likely to influence or be influenced, or perceived as such, by a private interest, in the exercise of his duty.
Principle and rules
Employees must avoid any situation in which their personal interests may conflict with the interests of SYNERGIE Group. To prevent this, Employees:
- Must not take personal benefits for themselves or for others because of their position in the SYNERGIE Group;
- Cannot exercise professional activities for the benefit of an entity outside the SYNERGIE Group, taking into account the principle of exclusivity referred to in the employment contracts (except for part-time Employees).
- Cannot, directly or indirectly, in person or through an intermediary, acquire interests or play a role in the governing bodies of other entities, which may conflict with the interests of SYNERGIE Group.
If circumstances lead to a potential or actual conflict of interest, the Employees concerned must report it, for instance through a conflict of interest declaration form.
The declarations must be submitted immediately after a situation of actual or potential conflict of interest has been identified and, in any event, before the decision that could be affected by a conflict of interest is taken.
Beyond these situations of conflict of interest, Employees may encounter other types of situations that could also appear as conflicts of interest. In that case, they must inform the Compliance Officer so that the latter can give an opinion on the existence or not of a conflict of interests.
126.96.36.199 Specific rules to lobbyists
SYNERGIE can be involved in the discussion related to the development of regulations in the human resources sector.
The term "lobbyist" means any person and any legal entity, whether private or public, engaged in an activity whose purpose is to influence the laws, decisions or directives of a government or institution in favour of a particular cause or expected result.
Principle and rules
Lobbying becomes bribery in the event that the lobbyist pays or provides benefits to a public official to incite him to support legislation or activities that are conducive to his client's business.
SYNERGIE prohibits any embezzlement in the activities of lobbying for the purpose of corruption. It is essential to act in a transparent and accountable manner in order to avoid any illegality in the activities of interest representation.
The Compliance Officer may provide guidelines on the manner in which the lobbyists must carry out their activities, in accordance with the values of transparency, honesty and integrity defended by the SYNERGIE Group.
5 THE WHISTLEBLOWING PROCEDURE
Two different whistleblowing system now exist to:
- Raise a concern under the Law of 9 December 2016 concerning the fight against corruption.
- Raise a concern under the internal right of action.
5.1 Raise a concern under the Law of 9 December 2016 concerning the fight against corruption
In accordance with the Law of 9 December 2016 on the fight against corruption, any Employee may report a situation in violation of the principles mentioned in this code, by following the process defined by SYNERGIE and by using the dedicated channel WhistleB, if:
- If he or she faces a risk of corruption;
- If he or she believes in good faith that a violation of the Code has or will or may occur;
- If he or she discovers that someone is being retaliated for blowing the whistle in good faith.
Any Employee who alerts in good faith and selflessly; that is, sincerely believes that his or her statement is accurate, a violation or a risk of violation of the Code to his or her management or Compliance Officer will be protected against all forms of retaliation. His or her identity and the facts will be treated confidentially in accordance with applicable regulations.
However, any slanderous denunciation and any alert that is abusive or made in bad faith will result in disciplinary or judicial sanctions.
Under the Law of 9 December 2016 on the fight against corruption, any abusive or slanderous denunciation is reprehensible by 5 years imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 €.
5.2 Raise a concern: an internal right of action
In the event that an Employee comes across practices contrary to the principles mentioned in this code other than those relating to the Law of 9 December 2016 on the fight against corruption, he or she has the possibility to use his/her internal right of action by using the dedicated channel WhistleB.
The alert may lead to an internal investigation that will decide what action should be taken. Every Employee must use this channel in good faith; otherwise, he or she may face sanctions.
This internal right of action appeal is a complementary mechanism which is not intended to replace other existing whistleblowing channels in application of the rules in force in each country, including the hierarchical and the Employee representative bodies.
5.3 Who to contact in case of wonder?
Employees who have any questions or doubts about the interpretation or application of the principles of the Code can consult confidentially his Compliance Officer.
6 COMING INTO FORCE
This Code is an appendix to the internal rules of Synergie.
It will enter into force after completion of all the formalities required by the applicable local regulations.
Each Employee has to observe its prescriptions and the future changes that may be applied according to the legal procedures.
Any subsequent modification or withdrawal of clause shall be in accordance with the local procedure.
Besides, any clause of the Code in conflict with statutory or conventional legal provisions would be automatically null and void.