Gloucester (UK), June 2019 - The eLearning supplier Engage in Learning has added a course on competition law to its portfolio of eLearning courses. Competition law, known as antitrust law in the USA and anti-monopoly law in China and Russia, promotes or seeks to maintain market competition by regulating companies’ anti-competitive conduct.
Chris Horseman, Engage in Learning (EIL)’s Managing Director, commented, "Competition law aims to keep the keep businesses honest and protect businesses, small and large, from unfair practices.
"This isn’t new," he added. "There was competition law in effect during the days of the Roman Empire. For example, we know that around 50 BCE, in order to protect the grain trade, heavy fines were imposed on anyone stopping supply ships."
Focusing on current UK legislation, the EIL eLearning course features the provisions of the Competition Act 1998 and the Enterprise Act 2002. It defines key terms such as "cartel" and "anti-competitive agreements", and also explores such issues as price fixing and market sharing.
Among other things, it indicates how easy it is to break competition law unknowingly - and stresses that the resulting penalties are substantial. Individuals can face fines, imprisonment, and other penalties.
"In law, all businesses - whatever their legal status, size, or sector - must comply with competition law," said Chris Horseman. "Non-compliance can mean serious consequences for businesses and individuals."
Businesses breaching competition law can be fined up to ten per cent of their annual worldwide turnover and ordered to change their behaviour. Third parties may claim damages against a business, and individuals may have assets confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Individuals who engage in cartel activity may face criminal prosecution. Conviction carries a fine and/or a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment.
Company directors who fall foul of competition law can be disqualified from managing a company for up to 15 years. In addition, reputational damage – to individuals and organisations - can be significant and long lasting.
The EIL eLearning course on competition law explores six key areas: dividing up and sharing markets; bid-rigging and discussing tenders; price fixing; abusing a dominant market position; forcing retailers to sell at a certain price; and sharing sensitive commercial information. It goes on to outline a four-step competition law compliance process and explains how to report any concerns.
According to EIL’s Marketing Manager, Kate Carter, "As with all EIL eLearning courses, the Competition Law course is highly interactive, with easy-to-use bite-sized modules. Learner engagement is encouraged through the course’s quizzes and virtual scenarios."
"Complying with competition law makes business sense," stated Chris Horseman. "If managers show - by their words and deeds - that they’re committed to complying with the law, it reinforces a compliance culture in their organisation.
"Moreover, if the organisation puts in place effective policies, procedures, and processes – including using the EIL competition law eLearning course in its learning and development activities - it should reduce the risk of a breach of that law. This should save money by avoiding the risk of fines and significant damage to an organisation’s reputation."