Social Media

 

Antitrust Compliance

Ronnie Shelton

ISEE Antitrust Policy

It is the policy of the ISEE to fully comply and encourage its chapters to fully comply with the antitrust laws of the United States. No employee or agent of the International Society of Explosives Engineers or any officer, director, or member acting on its behalf has the authority to engage in any conduct inconsistent with the antitrust laws or the Guidelines established by the ISEE Board of Directors.

Introduction

The Sherman Antitrust Act prohibits a "contract, combination, or conspiracy" in restraint of trade. The Act is a criminal conspiracy statute. The Federal Trade Commission Act further prohibits "unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce." Unlike the Sherman Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act addresses anti-competitive acts committed regardless of whether there is any "agreement" or "combination." The FTC has broad powers to determine what constitutes an unfair method of competition or deceptive act. A conviction for violating an antitrust law can result in stiff fines, for an association and its members and jail sentences for individuals who participated in the violation. Because antitrust statutes cover such a wide range of charges and provide for such severe penalties, the Society and its Chapters have established these antitrust compliance guidelines.

Penalties

An individual convicted of violating the Sherman Act may be fined as much as $100,000 and imprisoned for up to three years. A corporation may be fined as much as $1 million. Violating the Federal Trade Commission Act can result in extensive government restraints on the activities of an association and its members and penalties of $10,000 per day.

Topics of discussion which must be avoided at Society meetings:

  • Current or future prices. (Great care must be taken in discussing past prices).
  • What constitutes a fair profit level.
  • Possible increases or decreases in prices.
  • Standardization or stabilization of prices or pricing procedures.
  • Cash discounts or Credit terms.
  • Control of Sales or Allocation of markets and market shares.
  • Refusal to deal with a corporation because of its pricing or distribution practices.
  • Whether or not the pricing practices of any industry member are unethical or constitute an unfair trade practice.
  • How to Handle Problems

If anyone at a meeting is discussing the above subjects, inform the competitor that you will not discuss the subject. End the meeting or conversation immediately.

Leave a meeting or gathering if anyone at a meeting persists in discussing the above subjects. Be obvious in your departure.

Be careful in your choice of words. Do not joke about this subject.

Do not discuss the conduct of others (including other companies) or past conduct regarding the above mentioned subjects.