I am HONEST
The globalization of American business has resulted in an array of regulations and laws with which PLKI must comply.
PLKI will not tolerate bribery of any kind, we comply with all regulations regarding franchise sales and relationships, and we verify the right to work of all prospective employees.
"In the words of Robert E. Lee, 'The trite saying that honesty is the best policy has met with the just criticism that honesty is not policy. The real honest man is honest from conviction of what is right, not from policy.'"
Andy Skehan, President, International
- + Improper Influence
PLKI will not tolerate bribery of any kind. Bribery is illegal whether you are a United States citizen or not, and whether your activity happens in the U.S. or elsewhere. As a company doing business abroad, PLKI is also subject to the FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act), which is designed to prevent the bribery of foreign officials by U.S. citizens and companies, to improve record-keeping and internal accounting controls in order to detect illegal payments, and to maintain public confidence in the integrity of the American business system.
- Any action that could be considered an improper or illegal payment or bribe of any official or private individual either in the United States or abroad is strictly prohibited, including, but not limited to, those activities covered by the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
- PLKI maintains complete and accurate records of all transactions.
As a result:
PLKI employees and agents are prohibited from offering or giving anything of value to any foreign officials to:
- Influence them in an official capacity,
- Secure any improper advantage, or
- Cause them to influence the foreign Government
- In order to obtain or retain business.
The term "improper advantage" refers to something to which the Company was clearly not entitled, for example, an operating permit for a factory that fails to meet the statutory requirements. The law defines the term "foreign official" broadly, to include officers or employees of a foreign government, its departments, agencies or instrumentalities, as well as any person acting in an official capacity or on behalf of any government. The definition includes a member of a legislative body or a royal family. It also includes officials or employees of public international organizations, such as the United Nations, or persons acting in an official capacity on behalf of such an organization. The term "foreign official" has been interpreted to include directors, officers, or other officials of state-owned or controlled business enterprises (e.g., a national oil company or national airline).
- PLKI employees and agents who are foreign nationals may be prosecuted if some element of the illegal activity occurred within the United States.
- PLKI foreign affiliates and/or employees can be held liable, including our foreign agents, foreign subsidiaries and their non-U.S. citizen employees.
- PLKI can also be prosecuted for any bribery activity taking place wholly outside the U.S.
- Corrupt payments through third-party intermediaries, such as agents or joint venture partners, are unlawful.
The FCPA accepts "grease payments," defined as "facilitating payments" for "routine government action," such as:
- Obtaining permits, licenses, or other official documents;
- Processing governmental papers, such as visas and work orders;
- Providing police protection, mail pick-up and delivery, phone service, and power and water supply;
- Loading and unloading cargo, or protecting perishable products; or
- Scheduling or inspections associated with contract performance or transit of goods across the country.
- Proposed payments of any kind to any foreign official should be reviewed by the Office of General Counsel.
- If the payment is lawful under the written laws of the foreign country, it may be permitted.
- If the payment is for a reasonable and bona fide expense for promoting, demonstrating, or explaining products or services or performing a contractual obligation, it may also be permitted.
- Business hospitality, such as travel and lodging for foreign officials, may be appropriate.
- The FCPA requires companies to have stock registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to maintain records that accurately reflect the assets of the company and the disposition of company funds. These companies must:
- make and keep books, records, and accounts, which, in reasonable detail, accurately and
- fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of assets of the company, and
- devise and maintain a system of internal accounting controls sufficient to provide reasonable assurances that:
- all transactions are executed in accordance with management's general or specific authorization,
- transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparations of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles and to maintain accountability for assets,
- access to assets is permitted only in accordance with management's general or specific authorization, and
- the recorded accountability for assets is compared with existing assets at reasonable intervals, and appropriate action is taken with respect to any differences.
- + Franchise Relationships
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and state laws and regulations govern the sale of franchises and regulate franchise relationships.
Franchise Sales Regulation
Domestically, PLKI complies with the FTC Rule on Franchising and various state franchise registration and disclosure laws. PLKI issues a detailed disclosure document each year, which is generally referred to as the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), formerly known as the Uniform Franchise Offering Circular (UFOC). PLKI files the FDD with several states prior to initiating franchise sales in those states.
If PLKI intends to terminate or not renew a franchise, it generally must have good cause and provide advance written notice, which ranges from ten (10) days to one hundred and twenty (120) days.
Internationally, PLKI also complies with the franchise registration and/or disclosure laws of other countries. PLKI issues separate disclosure documents for each of the countries that require pre-sale registration and/or disclosure. PLKI also complies with the laws in those countries that require good cause and advance notice of termination and/or nonrenewal.
As a result:
At the earliest of the first face-to-face meetings between PLKI and a prospective franchisee or ten (10) business days (fourteen (14) calendar days in Illinois) before the prospective franchisee pays any money to PLKI or signs any contract with PLKI, or as otherwise required by the state or country at issue, PLKI provides each prospective franchisee with a FDD or international disclosure document containing detailed information about PLKI, the franchise system, the required investment and the contracts that will be signed.
Prospective PLKI franchisees receive signature copies of all franchise contracts at least five (5) business days, or as otherwise required by the country at issue, before they are signed.
PLKI employees will not make oral or written representations, especially financial projections, that are not contained in the FDD.
All PLKI FDD's are delivered to meet the deadlines mandated by the FTC or the relevant state, or country.
PLKI FDD's are generally valid for one (1) year except in the event of a material change, in which case PLKI will update the FDD.
PLKI's obligations vary by state and country, but often also include:
- limitations on our refusal to approve proposed transfers;
- rights granted to franchisees to form franchisee associations; and
- restrictions on our ability to discriminate among similarly situated franchisees.
- + Employment Eligibility
As mandated by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), PLKI will not hire any candidate for employment in the United States without first verifying that person's right to work in the U.S.
As a result:
PLKI employees who make hiring decisions in the United States must:
- Verify the identity and eligibility of a person to work;
- Complete INS Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification); and
- Keep the I-9 for three (3) years from the date of the hire or one (1) year after the date of termination, whichever is longer.
In Form I-9, the employee represents that he/she is:
- A citizen or national of the United States.
- An alien lawfully admitted for temporary or permanent residence, and an alien lawfully authorized by the INS or Attorney General to work in the United States.
- The employee attests that he/she has presented genuine documents to evidence his/her identity and employment eligibility.
- The PLKI employee responsible for making the hiring decision must examine the documents, determine that they appear genuine and relate to the employee, and attest that, to the best of his/her knowledge, the person is authorized to work in the United States.
For more information: