October 30, 2014
WEIS MARKETS, INC. CODE OF BUSINESS CONDUCT AND ETHICS
I. Introduction We require the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct from all of our associates. The success of our business depends on the trust and confidence we earn from our associates, customers, strategic partners and shareholders. Our reputation for honesty and integrity is measured by how we conduct ourselves in meeting our commitments and in striving to achieve our goals. To this end, no associate will be permitted to achieve results through violations of laws or regulations, through unscrupulous dealings or in violation of this policy. Our Company’s business practices are intended to be compatible with the economic and social priorities of each location in which we operate. This Code reflects our commitment to a culture of honesty, integrity and accountability and outlines the basic principles and policies with which all associates are expected to comply. When considering any action, it is important to ask: “Will this action build trust and credibility for Weis Markets? Will it help create an ethical working environment in which Weis Markets can continue to succeed? Is the commitment I am making one I can follow through on?” We will build our trust and credibility only by being able to answer “Yes” to these questions and by ensuring our actions everyday are ethical and consistent with this commitment. Your cooperation is necessary to the continued success of our business and the cultivation and maintenance of our reputation as a good corporate citizen. In addition to following this Code in all aspects of your business activities, associates are expected to seek guidance in any case where there is a question about compliance with both the letter and spirit of our policies and applicable laws. This Code sets forth general principles and does not supersede the specific policies and procedures that are covered in the Company’s compliance manual or in separate specific policy statements, such as the Securities Trading Policy. References in this Code of Ethics to the Company mean Weis Markets, Inc. or any of its subsidiaries. Please read this Code carefully and if you have any questions or if there is any part of it that is unclear, please speak with your immediate supervisor, Human Resources or Weis Markets’ corporate attorney.
II. Conflicts of Interest A conflict of interest occurs when an individual’s private interest interferes, or appears to interfere, in any way with the interests of the Company. A conflict situation can arise when an associate takes an action or has interests that may make it difficult to perform his or her work effectively. Conflicts of interest also arise when an associate, officer or director, or a member of his or her family, receives improper personal benefit as a result of his or her position in the Company. Loans to, or guarantees of obligations to, such persons are likely to pose conflicts of interest, as are transactions of any kind between the Company and any other organization in which you or any member of your family have an interest. Activities that could give rise to conflicts of interest are prohibited unless specifically approved in advance by the Board of Directors. It is not always easy to determine whether a conflict of interest exists, so any potential conflicts of interests must be reported immediately to the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. A member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors with any potential conflict of interests must report immediately to the Audit Committee.
III. Corporate Opportunities Associates, officers, directors, supervisors and all other Weis associates are prohibited from taking for themselves personally opportunities that arise through the use of corporate property, information or position and from using corporate property, information or position for personal gain. As Weis Markets associates, they are also prohibited from competing with the Company.
IV. Confidentiality Associates must maintain the confidentiality of information entrusted to them by the Company or that otherwise comes into their possession in the course of their employment, except when disclosure is authorized or legally mandated. The obligation to preserve confidential information continues even after you leave the Company. Confidential information includes all non-public information that may be of use to competitors, or harmful to the Company or its customers, if disclosed. It also includes information that suppliers and customers have entrusted to us.
V. Protection and Proper Use of Company Assets All associates should endeavor to protect the Company’s assets and ensure their efficient use. Theft, carelessness and waste have a direct impact on the Company’s profitability. Any suspected incidents of fraud or theft should be immediately reported for investigation through the hotline or the other options that are made available to associates. Company assets, such as funds, products or computers, may only be used for legitimate business purposes or other purposes approved by management. Company assets may never be used for illegal purposes. The obligation to protect Company assets includes proprietary information. Proprietary information includes any information that is not generally known to the public or would be helpful to our competitors. Examples of proprietary information are intellectual property, business and marketing plans, loyalty marketing database information and associate employment and medical records. The obligation to preserve proprietary information continues even after you leave the Company.
VI. Insider Trading Insider trading is unethical and illegal. It can result in significant damage to our company and its shareholders. Associates are not allowed to trade in securities of a company while in possession of material non-public information regarding that company. It is also illegal to “tip” or pass on inside information to any other person who might make an investment decision based on that information or pass the information on further. The Company’s Securities Trading Policy sets forth associates’ obligations with respect to trading in the Company's securities.
VII. Fair Dealing Each associate should endeavor to deal fairly with the Company’s customers, suppliers, competitors and associates. No associate should take unfair advantage of anyone through illegal conduct, manipulation, concealment, abuse of privileged information, misrepresentation of material facts or any other unfair-dealing practice.
VIII. Compliance with Laws, Rules and Regulations Compliance with both the letter and spirit of all laws, rules and regulations applicable to our business is critical to our reputation and continued success. All associates must respect and obey the laws of the cities and states in which we operate and avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Associates who fail to comply with this Code and applicable laws will be subject to disciplinary measures, up to and including discharge from the Company.
IX. Compliance With the Antitrust Laws The Company believes in fair and open competition, and adheres strictly to the requirements of the antitrust laws. As a general proposition, any contact with a competitor may present problems under the antitrust laws. Accordingly, all associates of the Company should avoid any such contact relating to the business of the Company or the competitor without first obtaining the approval of the legal department. We note below some general rules concerning contacts with competitors:
- Agreements among competitors, whether written or oral, which relate to prices are illegal per se. In other words, such agreements, by themselves, constitute violations of the antitrust laws. There are no circumstances under which agreements among competitors relating to prices may be found legal. Price fixing is a criminal offense, and may subject the Company to substantial fines and penalties and the offending associate to imprisonment and fines.
- The antitrust laws may be violated even in the absence of a formal agreement relating to prices. Under certain circumstances, an agreement to fix prices may be inferred from conduct, such as the exchange of price information, and from communications among competitors even without an express understanding. Although exchanges of price information are permitted in certain circumstances, associates of the Company should not participate in such exchanges without first obtaining the approval of the legal department.
- It is a per se violation of the antitrust laws for competitors to agree, expressly or by implication, to divide markets by territory or customers.
- It is a per se violation of the antitrust laws for competitors to agree not to do business with a particular customer or supplier. As with agreements to fix prices, the antitrust laws can be violated even in the absence of an express understanding.
- Any communication between competitors concerning problems with any customer or supplier may violate the antitrust laws and should be avoided.
X. Compliance with Environmental Laws The Company intends to be a good steward of the environment and is sensitive to the environmental, health and safety consequences of its operations. Accordingly, the Company is in strict compliance with all applicable Federal and State environmental laws and regulations, including, among others, the Clean Air Act, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act. If any associate has any doubt as to the applicability or meaning of a particular environmental, health or safety regulation, he or she should discuss the matter with their immediate manager, the corporate attorney, or a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors.
XI. Discrimination and Harassment Our Company values the diversity and inclusion of all of its associates and is committed to providing equal opportunity in every aspect of employment. We base all employment decisions solely on legitimate job-related criteria. It is against our Company’s policies (and the law) to base employment decisions on race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, marital status, or any other legally protected characteristic. All associates are expected to behave professionally and to avoid any conduct that may be considered discrimination, harassment or sexual harassment. Abusive, harassing or offensive conduct is unacceptable, whether verbal, physical or visual. This includes derogatory comments based on racial or ethnic characteristics, unwelcome sexual advances, threats of violence or physical intimidation or inappropriate language directed at associates, customers, or visitors. Associates are expected to report any harassment or conduct that makes them feel uncomfortable.
XII. Safety and Health Our Company is committed to keeping its workplaces free from safety hazards. All associates are responsible for maintaining a safe workplace and following all health and safety rules and practices. Associates are expected to report any accidents, injuries, unsafe equipment, practices or conditions immediately to their supervisor or other designated person(s). Weis Markets is a drug-free employer. It is unacceptable for an associate to work when their ability to function safely is diminished or impaired for any reason. Associates must report to work free from the influence of any substance that could prevent them from conducting work activities safely and effectively.
XIII. Accuracy of Company Records and Reporting Honest and accurate recording and reporting of information is critical to our ability to make responsible business decisions. The Company’s accounting records are relied upon to produce reports for the Company’s management, shareholders, creditors, governmental agencies and others. Our financial statements and the books and records on which they are based must accurately reflect all corporate transactions and conform to all legal and accounting requirements and our system of internal controls. The Code of Conduct explicitly prohibits inappropriate management override of established controls. All associates have a responsibility to ensure that the Company’s accounting records do not contain any false or intentionally misleading entries. We do not permit intentional misclassification of transactions as to accounts, departments or accounting periods. All transactions must be supported by accurate documentation in reasonable detail and recorded in the proper account and in the proper accounting period. Business records and communications often become public through legal or regulatory investigations or the media. We should avoid exaggeration, derogatory remarks, legal conclusions or inappropriate characterizations of people and companies. This applies to communications of all kinds, including email and informal notes or interoffice memos, social media including corporate and personal Facebook and Twitter pages. Records should be retained and destroyed in accordance with the Company’s records retention policy.
XIV. Use of E-Mail and Internet Services E-Mail systems and Internet services are provided to help us do work. Incidental and occasional personal use is permitted, but never for personal gain or any improper purpose. You may not access, send or download any information that could be insulting or offensive to another person, such as sexually explicit messages, cartoons, jokes, unwelcome propositions, ethnic or racial slurs, or any other message that could be viewed as harassment. Also prohibited is “flooding” our systems with junk mail and trivia which can hamper the ability of our systems to handle legitimate company business and may increase the Company’s exposure to potential cybersecurity threats. Your messages (including voice mail) and computer information are considered company property and you should not have any expectation of privacy. Unless prohibited by law, the company reserves the right to access and disclose this information as necessary for business purposes. Use good judgment, and do not access, send messages or store any information that you would not want to be seen or heard by other individuals. Violation of these policies may result in disciplinary actions up to and including discharge from the Company.
XV. Political Activities and Contributions We respect and support the right of our associates to participate in political activities. However, these activities should not be conducted on Company time or involve the use of any Company resources such as telephones, computers or supplies. Associates will not be reimbursed for personal political contributions. We may occasionally express our views on local and national issues that affect our operations. In such cases, Company funds and resources may be used, but only when permitted by law and by our strict Company guidelines. The Company may also make limited contributions to political parties or candidates in jurisdictions where it is legal and customary to do so. The Company may pay related administrative and solicitation costs for political action committees formed in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. No associate may make or commit to political contributions on behalf of the company without the express written approval of our Company’s Chief Executive Officer.
XVI. Gifts and Entertainment Business gifts and entertainment are customary courtesies designed to build goodwill among business partners. These courtesies include such things as meals and beverages, tickets to sporting or cultural events, discounts not available to the general public, travel, accommodation and other merchandise or services. In some cultures they play an important role in business relationships. However, a problem may arise when such courtesies compromise – or appear to compromise – our ability to make objective and fair business decisions. The same rules apply to associates offering gifts and entertainment to our business associates. Offering or receiving any gift, gratuity or entertainment that might be perceived to unfairly influence a business relationship should be avoided. These guidelines apply at all times, and do not change during traditional gift-giving seasons. The value of gifts should be nominal, both with respect to frequency and amount. Gifts that are repetitive (no matter how small) may be perceived as an attempt to create an obligation to the giver and are therefore inappropriate. Likewise, business entertainment should be moderately scaled and intended only to facilitate business goals. If, for example, tickets to a sporting or cultural event are offered, then the person offering the tickets should plan to attend the event, as well. Use good judgment. “Everyone else does it” is not sufficient justification. If you are having difficulty determining whether a specific gift or entertainment item lies within the bounds of acceptable business practice, speak with your supervisor. Ask yourself these guiding questions:
- Is it legal?
- Is it clearly business related?
- Is it moderate, reasonable, and in good taste?
- Would public disclosure embarrass the Company?
- Is there any pressure to reciprocate or grant special favors?
Strict rules apply when we do business with governmental agencies and officials, whether in the U.S. or in other countries, as discussed in more detail below. Because of the sensitive nature of these relationships, talk with your supervisor and the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors before offering or making any gifts or hospitality to governmental associates.
XVII. Payments to Domestic and Foreign Officials Associates must comply with all laws prohibiting improper payments to domestic and foreign officials, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (the “Act”). The Act prohibits an offer, payment, promise of payment or authorization of the payment of any money or gift to a domestic official (local, state or federal government), an official of a political party or candidate for a political office or to a foreign official, foreign political party, official of a foreign political party or candidate for political office to influence any act or decision of such person or party to obtain or retain business. The Act also prohibits a payment to any person with the intention that all or a portion of that payment will be offered or given, directly or indirectly, to any such political person for any such purpose. Although so-called “grease” payments may not be illegal, the Company’s policy is to avoid such payments. If any associate finds that adherence to the Company’s policy would cause a substantial, adverse effect on operations, that fact should be reported to the Company’s Executive Committee of the Board of Directors which will determine whether an exception may lawfully be authorized. If the facilitating payment is made, such payment must be properly entered and identified on the books of the Company and all appropriate disclosures made. The Act further requires compliance with generally accepted accounting principles. The Company must continue to maintain financial records which, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect transactions. In particular, all bank accounts that receive or disburse funds on behalf of the Company shall be properly authorized and any such transactions recorded on the official books and records of the Company. Violation of the Act is a criminal offense, subjecting the Company to substantial fines and penalties and any officer, director, associate or stockholder acting on behalf of the Company to imprisonment and fines. The Act prohibits the Company from paying, directly or indirectly, a fine imposed upon an individual pursuant to the Act. Violation of this policy may result in disciplinary actions up to and including discharge from the Company.
XVIII. Reporting of any Illegal or Unethical behavior We have a strong commitment to conduct our business in a lawful and ethical manner. Associates are encouraged to talk to supervisors, managers or other appropriate personnel when in doubt about the best course of action in a particular situation and to report violations of laws, rules, regulations or this Code. We prohibit retaliatory action against any associate who, in good faith, reports a possible violation. It is unacceptable to file a report knowing it to be false.
XIX. Waivers of the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics Any waiver of this Code for executive officers or directors will be made only by the Board of Directors and will be promptly disclosed as required by law or stock exchange regulation.
XX. Compliance Procedures This Code cannot, and is not intended to, address all of the situations you may encounter. There will be occasions where you are confronted by circumstances not covered by policy or procedure and where you must make a judgment as to the appropriate course of action. In those circumstances we encourage you to use your common sense, and to contact your supervisor, manager or a member of Human Resources for guidance. If you do not feel comfortable discussing the matter with your supervisor, manager or Human Resources, please call the toll-free TELL WEIS Hotline at 1-844-TELL WEIS (1-844-835-5934). You may report matters confidentially and anonymously via this hotline. We strive to ensure that all questions or concerns are handled fairly, discreetly and thoroughly. You need not identify yourself.