THE CODE OF ETHICS AND STANDARDS OF BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT FOR THE MERCEDES-BENZ CLUB OF KENYA
Message from the President: At the heart of every successful organization is a common understanding of the manner in which to conduct oneself as well as the harmony of many parts that contribute positively towards the whole. In seeking this harmony, we must set forth the standards that govern our conduct and demarcate the rules that guide our actions. We encourage our members to not only abide by the guidelines that are set out for our Club, but to also introduce a spirit of positivity in the practice of these rules that will see the Club rise to unprecedented heights within our local community and to the further reaches of the greater international automotive community.
VISION AND PURPOSE
MBCK members will be committed to doing what is right and honorable and will set high standards for ourselves as in all aspects of our lives—at work, at home, and within the club interactions with our peers. This Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct describes the expectations that we have of ourselves and those that we recruit to join our prestigious club. It articulates the ideals to which we aspire as well as the behaviors that are mandatory in our daily interaction with each other.
The purpose of this Code is to guide our day to day interactions and assist us in making informed decisions, particularly when faced with difficult and/or conflicting situations where we may be at a crossroads threatening to compromise our integrity or our values.
TO WHOM THE CODE APPLIES
All members of MBCK
All individuals who have made a formal application seeking to join the club and are in the process of being vetted and accepted into the club.
Responsibility for the content of this Code of Conduct and the supervision of its operation rests with the MBCK Committee. The Committee will review and update this document at least annually and consider any breaches, either alleged or actual.
Responsibility for implementation of the Code rests with the Committee and the Code shall be communicated through the member onboarding portal. Compliance is therefore a condition of membership.
CLUB VALUES THAT SUPPORT THIS CODE OF CONDUCT
This Code affirms the below values form its foundation and describe the conduct that we strive to uphold as members. Although adherence to these values is not easily measured, conducting ourselves in accordance with these is an expectation that we have of ourselves as members and—it is not optional.
Responsibility & Commitment-
Responsibility is our duty to take ownership for the decisions we make or fail to make, the actions we take or fail to take, and the consequences that result thereof. Commitment is our duty to uphold the club’s activities through keeping time, participating in events and discussions, executing with excellence and being there for each other.
Respect is our duty to show a high regard for ourselves, others, and the resources entrusted to us. Resources entrusted to us may include people, money, reputation and or the safety of others. An environment of respect engenders trust, confidence, and an environment where diverse perspectives and views are encouraged and valued. We inform ourselves about the norms and customs of others and avoid engaging in behaviors they might consider disrespectful and we listen to others’ points of view, seeking to understand them. We approach directly those persons with whom we have a conflict or disagreement and we conduct ourselves in a professional manner, even when it is not reciprocated.
Fairness is our duty to make decisions and act impartially and objectively. Our conduct must be free from competing self-interest(s), prejudice, and favoritism. We demonstrate transparency in our decision- making process and we constantly re-examine our impartiality and objectivity, taking corrective action as appropriate.
Honesty & Integrity
Honesty is our duty to understand the truth and act in a truthful manner both in our communications and in our conduct. We strive to create an environment in which others feel safe to tell the truth. We do not engage in or condone behavior that is designed to deceive others, including but not limited to, making misleading or false statements, stating half-truths, providing information out of context or withholding information that, if known, would render our statements as misleading or incomplete. We do not engage in dishonest behavior with the intention of personal gain or at the expense of another.
Conflict of Interest
A conflict of interest occurs when we are in a position to influence decisions or other outcomes on behalf of one party when such decisions or outcomes could affect one or more other parties with which we have competing loyalties.
We proactively and fully disclose any real or potential conflicts of interest to the MBCK Committee.
When we realize that we have a real or potential conflict of interest, we refrain from engaging in
the decision-making process or otherwise attempting to influence outcomes, unless or until: we have made full disclosure to the affected members; we have an approved mitigation plan; and we have obtained the consent of the Committee to proceed.
Social media in this case would include but not limited to Facebook (Group and Page), WhatsApp groups, MBCK Official Website, Instagram and Twitter.
Information shared within the MBCK social media should adhere to the professional ethics and values on responsibility, respect, fairness, honesty and integrity and minimize conflict of interest.
All social media content is to be Mercedes-Benz related.
All social media content is monitored by MBCK officials.
Social media violators are subject to disciplinary action as highlighted below.
GRIEVANCE AND DISCIPLINARY RULES AND PROCEDURES
Mercedes Benz Club of Kenya Limited (hereinafter “MBCK” or the “Club”) recognizes that Club Members may, from time to time, have grievances or complaints and that they have a right to bring such matters which concern them to the attention of the Committee. It is for this reason that grievance rules and procedures have been developed, to allow Club Members the opportunity to raise such issues formally when necessary and to ensure that they are dealt with in an appropriate, effective and equitable manner.
However, alse grievances is also considered a serious issue and may result in disciplinary action;
grievances need to be based on legitimate concerns or complaints.
These rules and procedures apply to grievances raised by Club Members. Where grievances are raised between two (2) or more Club Members by any club member they shall be handled in accordance with the Club’s collective grievance process.
Informal Grievance Procedures
As the use of formal procedures is a tedious process, it is preferred that most of the difficulties that might arise between members can be resolved without resorting to formal procedures. However, the Main Committee and member opinions may be at variance from time to time. In such instances, the Main Committee will strive to understand the member's viewpoint, and explain the Main Committee position and seek a mutually acceptable solution.
If a mutually acceptable solution is not possible after direct discussion between the two (2) parties and if the member feels there is no alternative to using the formal procedure the stages are set out below. Informal grievance procedures aim to settle the grievance quickly and effectively and as near as possible to the point of origin. When discussing a grievance within the Informal grievance procedure, members may be accompanied by a fellow member of their choice, if they so wish.
Formal Grievance Procedures
The formal grievance procedure is as follows: -
In the first instance, the complaint should be made to the Disciplinary Sub- Committee within five (5) days, Sub- Committee of which shall be constituted in accordance with the set guidelines under the Club Constitution. The Disciplinary Sub- Committee will arrange an interview not later than two (2) working days after receiving the complaint and will prepare a written record of the interview with their recommendation for resolving the grievance. The recommendation for resolving the grievance should be shared and endorsed by the Main Committee.
The record must be sent to the aggrieved member not later than five (5) working days after the interview. Within five (5) working days of receiving this record the member may, if he/she feels that the grievance has not been resolved, appeal to the President of the Club.
At this second stage, the duly elected President of the Club will cause the Secretary to arrange an interview not later than two (2) working days after receiving the appeal and will call for the written record of the first interview. After the interview, the Secretary will prepare a written record of the meeting together with a recommendation for resolving the grievance as recommended by the President of the Club. This written record should be sent to the aggrieved member within five (5) working days of the interview.
This will be the final stage of the procedure and the duly elected President’s decision shall be final.
MBCK disciplinary rules and procedures are necessary for promoting fairness and order in the treatment of a member. They also assist the Club to operate effectively. Rules and procedures help to ensure that standards are adhered to and provide a fair method of dealing with alleged failures to observe them.
This process strives to correct, rather than to punish. However, it does require good standards of discipline and a satisfactory standard of conduct to be maintained in whose absence corrective/disciplinary action will be taken.
Disciplinary procedures attempt to improve the behavior of members. In less serious cases the penalty will normally be, on the first occasion, a cautionary warning. If the member again fails to comply with the Club’s requirements, a first and second written warning would follow this and, if matters still do not improve, expulsion. A warning may be accompanied by a period of suspension from the club.
- a. Cautionary Warnings
Minor lapses in behavior or failure to comply with required standards, will normally result in a cautionary warning being given to the member concerned by the Disciplinary Sub- Committee. The purpose of this warning is to explain to the member the way in which he/she is not complying with expected standards and to assist him/her in complying with them in the future. The warning explains what is required and can arrange for other corrective steps such as coaching or mentoring. An informal warning of this kind is not recorded on the member’s file and is not prerequisite to formal disciplinary procedure should that prove necessary. All cautionary warnings should, however, be documented.
- Written warnings
In more serious cases, or where a cautionary warning has not resulted in improved behavior the following procedure will apply:
Step 1: First Written Warning
The member will be called for a disciplinary interview by the Disciplinary Sub- Committee. The nature of the problem will be discussed, solutions and guidelines agreed and a list of targets set for the next period. The meeting will be minuted and signed by both parties. The record of the meeting will be placed in the member’s file.
If there is no improvement in the member’s behavior, or another offence is committed, a second warning letter may be written.
Step 2: Second Written Warning
The procedure will be the same as above and the signed minutes of the meeting placed in the member’s file. If there is no improvement in the member’s behavior, or another offence is committed, expulsion procedures may be initiated.
Step 3: Expulsion
The member will be notified, normally in writing, of his/her intended expulsion and of the time and place of the hearing so that he or she will have an opportunity to discuss their expulsion. At least twenty-four (24) hours’ notice will be given of the hearing. The notice will also inform the member of his/her rights of representation and to call witnesses as set out below. The member is entitled to be accompanied at the disciplinary hearing by one (1) fellow member.
If the facts are in dispute, the member or his representative is entitled to put questions to any witnesses to be called and to ask additional witnesses to be called. The member will be given an opportunity to draw attention to any mitigating circumstances before any decision as to the appropriate disciplinary penalty is taken.
The duly elected President or the equivalent will, under normal circumstances, attend the formal disciplinary hearing in an advisory capacity. The member will have the final decision communicated to him/ her in writing and the reason for the decision.
The penalties, which may be imposed after a formal disciplinary hearing are as follows:
- A formal cautionary warning
- Suspension for a specified period of time; as agreed by the Main Committee c. Expulsion
1.3. Grievance and Disciplinary Records
A written record of any disciplinary warning will be kept in the member’s file. As a general rule, disciplinary action will not be allowed to count against a member indefinitely and will be removed and not taken into account after a specified period as determined by the Main Committee, provided no further disciplinary action has been taken against the member in that time.
However, as a rule, the following are issued:
- a) Formal cautionary warning - 3 months b) First written warning – 6 months
- c) Second written warning – 6 months d) Notice of Expulsion
1.4. Expulsion and Subsequent Institution of Legal Proceedings
MBCK reserves the right of instant expulsion in cases of proven serious misconduct as defined below. Where expulsion would otherwise be justified but there are mitigating circumstances, a warning at any level in the procedure may be given instead of expulsion.
As a safeguard for Club Members, only certain Main Committee Members will be entitled to suspend or take expulsion action as outlined below.
The duly elected President of the Club or his authorized representative will only take expulsion action. As previously stated, Club Members will not normally be expelled for a first offence but there are certain cases of serious misconduct where immediate expulsion may result. To set down a complete list of such cases is not practicable but they include but are not limited to the following: -
- Misrepresentation of records/information.
- Damage/misuse of Club property by malice or neglect (negligence)
- c. Being intoxicated/inebriated to the extent that the member is incapable of performing his/her duties while in office.
- The unauthorized possession of or misappropriation of Club property/funds.
- Conduct prejudicial to safety, including one’s own which conduct includes but is not limited to driving while under the influence of alcohol or any other mind altering substances.
- f. Soliciting or receiving bribes/favors in any form.
- Criminal activities including theft and fraud.
- Violence or threats of violence to any member of the club.
- i. Discrimination, Harassment whether sexual or verbal or Bullying of any ki
- j. Placing the name of MBCK in disrepute (incorporates culture and sexual behaviors). k. Use of abusive or insulting language, or behaves in a manner insulting, to members
- l. If in the lawful exercise of any power of arrest given by or under any written law, a member
is arrested for a cognizable offence punishable by imprisonment and is not within fourteen days either released on bail or on bond or otherwise lawfully set at liberty.
The duly elected President or his authorized representative may proceed to institute legal proceedings on behalf of the club in the event the available remedies are not sufficient and/ or satisfactory. A member is also at liberty to institute legal proceedings in their own individual capacity in the event they are not satisfied with the internal formal procedures. The same shall be treated as a civil suit independent of the club’s leadership.
Where an offence is involved but not proven, precautionary suspension can be imposed until the case is heard or completed. Suspension would be considered where the offence has not resulted in financial loss for the Club. Suspension may be given by no less authority than a President of the Club or anyone acting in such a capacity. Suspension can only be imposed for a maximum period of three (3) months unless exceptional circumstances warrant its extension.
A member who is aggrieved at any formal disciplinary decision adverse to him/her may appeal in writing to the duly elected President within ten (10) working days of receiving written confirmation of the decision.
Appeals will normally be heard within five (5) working days from the time that they are lodged and will be heard by another Disciplinary Sub- Committee from the next level of authority to that imposing the sanction.
A separate committee may be constituted by the duly elected President to handle any appeal case. The committee members shall be drawn from the existing Disciplinary Committee, and two other members of the Main Club Committee. The committee will make a decision by way of voting and majority votes will carry the day.
The duly elected President of the Club or his authorized representative will hear appeals against expulsion.
Where a member has been expelled, he will be regarded as suspended without club benefits pending the decision on his appeal. If the appeal is successful, all benefits will be reinstated and if unsuccessful, the expulsion will be regarded as having taken effect in accordance with the original decision.
On appeal, the duly elected President may allow the appeal by setting aside the penalty in completely or in part or substituting a less severe penalty or s/he may dismiss the appeal. A more severe penalty may not be imposed on appeal. The duly elected President’s decision on appeal is final.
If there are any aspects of the Code of Ethics and the specific guidelines that govern the conduct and practices of the Mercedes-Benz Club of Kenya that are not clear, please feel free to contact any duly elected Club Official.