November 17, 2005
GIA Laboratory Announces Initiatives; Names Compliance Officer
In a letter sent to Gemological Institute of America Laboratory clients on Nov. 15, GIA Laboratory and Research Senior Vice President Thomas M. Moses announced a number of initiatives as well as the appointment of a new laboratory compliance officer. Moses said the steps are designed "to make our organization even stronger and better."
Moses said Linda Scholl has been appointed as vice president of human resources and compliance. Scholl has served as GIA's chief human resources officer since 2003, and will now oversee the enforcement of GIA's compliance policies for the GIA Lab and the enforcement of GIA's corporate-wide compliance program. She will have under her supervision Eva Carlson as manager of laboratory compliance. Carlson has been serving as manager of legal administration. Both will work closely with GIAšs legal team.
In addition, GIA President William E. Boyajian announced that Donna M. Baker, who has been serving as vice president and general counsel, was promoted to senior vice president and general counsel. She will continue to oversee GIA's corporate operations and will ultimately be responsible with Scholl for reporting to the Institutešs board of governors on corporate compliance issues.
Other steps announced by Moses include:
Revising the existing GIA code of conduct and professional ethics policy to include even more stringent requirements that reflect current industry standards for professional conduct. Employees are now required to report code of conduct violations they may witness or of which they become aware, and failure to do so will result in dismissal.
Conducting a mandatory ethics training seminar for all employees in November to highlight the importance of the provisions in the code of conduct and to provide additional information on workplace ethics. It will be an annual training event. This year's seminar will be led by Thomas O'Neil, a partner at the law firm of DLA Piper Rudnick, who conducted the recent investigation of GIA.
Re-emphasizing the current policy in the code of conduct against employees soliciting or receiving compensation in any form from GIA Lab clients, including cash and/or non-cash gifts, or entertainment. There are no exceptions to this rule, and any violations will result in immediate dismissal. Any lab clients who fail to respect this rule will be stricken from GIA's client list.
Retaining the company EthicsPoint to provide clients, students, employees and vendors a means to openly and safely communicate cases of potential misconduct anonymously and confidentially with GIA's management and board via a toll-free telephone hotline or the Internet. EthicsPoint is a leading provider of services to support compliance, workplace ethics, and corporate governance. The toll-free phone number in the U.S. and Canada is (866) 295-2625. Outside of the U.S. and Canada, please contact a local operator to place a collect call to the following U.S. phone number: (503) 726-2269 (only an operator can place the collect call). Multilingual support is available and lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The multilingual website is www.ethicspoint.com.
According to Moses, these initiatives are being implemented to tighten GIA standards even further and to ensure that "the Institute will continue to serve the industry and the public with pride and excellence."