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Ethical Standards for UCLA Employees

The University of California has adopted a statement of four ethical values and 12 standards of ethical conduct (see Related Information) as models for making ethical decisions. 

Why are business ethics important to UCLA?

  • We are responsible for upholding the public trust.
  • We are accountable for spending and using our resources the way they were intended.
  • We are accountable to our “stakeholders” — donors, funding agencies, students, parents and employees.

Public employees are expected to be examples of good citizenship. Employees of the University have a responsibility to make all professional decisions based on merit, unimpeded by conflicting personal interests. We are expected to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

Our reputation is important because it affects the University's ability to attract students, faculty and staff. Our reputation also influences the quality of research performed, the community's perception of us and our standing as a renowned public institution.

Consequences of unethical behaviors may include:

  • Criminal charges and/or fines
  • Lawsuits
  • Ruined careers
  • Damage to the organization's reputation
  • Wasted time
  • Low morale
  • Recruiting difficulties
  • Oppressive legislation
  • Fraud and scandals

How do we cultivate an ethical institution?
Emphasize good internal controls. Our control environment sets the tone for our organization. The Office of the Controller offers information on best practices for incorporating internal controls into daily processes and creating an effective control environment. Control environment values include integrity, excellence, accountability and respect demonstrated by our staff and faculty.

Promote an ethical environment. Our organization embraces ethical values and practices we deem central to a healthy environment. To facilitate a high level of integrity in your department:

  • Tell people what is expected of them.
  • Set the example.
  • Convey the message and repeat it often.
  • Use available resources.

Acting ethically is the right thing to do, but it is not always easy. Often, conforming to a high standard of conduct is not about clear-cut right-and-wrong decisions, but choosing the "lesser of two evils." Some decisions require that you prioritize, and choose between competing ethical values and principles.
Ethical decision making is based on core character values like trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and good citizenship. Ethical decisions generate ethical behaviors and provide a foundation for good business practices.

Individual training is available through Campus Human Resources or on a departmental basis by contacting Financial Management Programs.