With franchises all over the world and a global reputation to maintain, McDonald's has developed a uniform standard of conduct that applies to all employees. It requires the employee, upon being hired, to sign a copy of these expectations of ethical conduct, affirming that the employee understands them and agrees to implement them. Ray Kroc set the original standard for McDonald's when he said that "the basis for our entire business is that we are ethical, truthful and dependable."
McDonald's believes in the business adage that the customer is important. They expect employees to be committed to their jobs and to their customers, and to behave as ambassadors of the company. They also believe that it is important to acknowledge the community that supports each McDonald's restaurant and to return that support to the community. A system was established to train each employee in more than just how to perform jobs technically. It requires a structured orientation that would teach the employee these ethical standards and more, as well as the attitude with which the job is to be performed.
To perform to the highest standards set by the company, employees must treat fellow workers, supervisors and customers with respect. An employee cannot harass anyone or intimidate them. Abusive behaviour is not allowed. It is the employee's responsibility to help create an environment that is not offensive. Employees cannot utter slurs or offend others with words or actions. An employee must practice safety at all times to ensure not only his well-being but that of others. Alcohol or illegal drugs are forbidden.
During training, employees learn that they cannot use any company assets for personal reasons. This includes the misuse of assets as small as office supplies, or something as large as a company vehicle or expense account. Computers should not be used for personal e-mails or for accessing illegal or inappropriate material. McDonald's owns not just the computers but the information entered into them, and is entitled to investigate their contents. An employee must guard against joining enterprises that create a conflict of interest. Privileged company information must be respected.
McDonald's is active in community involvement and in charities, including its own Ronald McDonald House Charities. Employees can play a vital role in supporting community efforts during times of disaster, giving of time and effort when needed. Employees may not pursue any political activity in the name of the company that is not approved by the company. Political activity of the employee's own choosing must be done on the employee's own time and on his own dime.
There are times when an employee observes unethical or even criminal behaviour, or is a victim of unethical or criminal behaviour, and it is that employee's duty to report those violations of the company's standards. Because this can be a touchy undertaking, McDonald's implements a procedure for this. The first course of action is to speak to a supervisor or a manager about the issue. Often this is sufficient. If this is not possible, there are two other options to take. The employee can contact McDonald's Global Compliance Office or, if the employee feels the need to report the violation anonymously, he may phone the Business Integrity Line. Both numbers are given to employees during orientation. In either instance, the complaint will be dealt with and may involve an investigation. The employee is protected from retaliation by strict rules and regulations.