Compliance Bits and Pieces for Nov. 13

Here are some stories that caught my eye over the past week:

A Morgan Stanley star falls in China By George Chen and Steve Eder for Reuters

His downfall, however, was just as precipitous. Morgan Stanley fired Peterson in December amid suspicions that he had violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a law meant to crack down on bribes being paid to public officials overseas.

Morgan Stanley, which voluntarily reported the case to the U.S. authorities, declined to comment on its specifics.

After a nine-month internal investigation, the bank has turned its findings over to the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which have opened their own probes, according to an investor letter obtained by Reuters.

Pin the Credit on Someone Else by Charles H. Green for Trust Matters

A willingness to pin the credit on another is a deceptively simple way to achieve several goals. First—as Rebecca’s example perfectly shows—it can often get things done faster, breaking a logjam by bringing in a third party or an appeal to authority.

Second, it signals a willingness to subordinate your own ego—something as valuable as it is rare in consultative and sales and support people. The client picks up that signal very clearly.

Third, it signals something to the credited party too. It says you recognize and value them, and that you’re willing to do them a favor. And favors invite reciprocal favors.

Fourth, that whole favor-giving thing requires a time perspective longer than the transaction at hand. By showing you’re willing to play that game, you suggest a plethora of ways to work together going forward. You can collaborate.

Just because … inspiration can come from my 4th grader by Heather Milligan of The Legal Watercooler

1. Differentiate yourself without tearing down your opponent.

2. Be friendly. People like to hire and work with people who are friendly. Yes, there is always a need for the bull-dog litigator, but be the guy or gal that your client would enjoy having a beer with, taking in a game, or hanging out until 3:00 a.m. in trial preparation.

EPA: Video Takedown order was about ethics, not content by Darren Goode for Congress Daily

The Environmental Protection Agency’s top lawyer says the agency is not censoring two of its California-based attorneys who posted a YouTube video criticizing the Obama administration’s backing of a House-passed climate bill. But the two attorneys were asked to either take down the video or edit out references to their work with EPA because they violated government ethics standards.

Exploring the Ethics of Swine Flu by Lauren Bloom

The answer may be for employers to stop expecting workers to come in when they’re seriously ill with a contagious disease. Unfortunately, the American work ethic (a marvelous thing in many respects) is so strong that any employee who misses more than a day or two risks being permanently branded as a slacker. That attitude needs to change. If diseases like swine flu can’t be prevented, then workers shouldn’t be punished for coming down with them.

Why Insider Trading Is Hard to Define, Prove and Prevent from Knowledge@Wharton

Generally, insider trading means profiting on “material, non-public information.” It can be committed by an insider, such as a company executive, or an outsider who gets information from an insider. Merely obtaining inside information is not illegal. A journalist, for example, can use inside sources to glean earnings data before it is disclosed and legally use it for a story. But the reporter would be breaking the law if he used that knowledge to buy the firm’s stock before an announcement drove the price up.