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Human Rights Policy

The respect of Fundamental Human Rights is an essential component in the responsible business conduct of Banque Libano-Française (BLF). In addition to complying with the internationally recognized Human Rights Declaration, the Lebanese Labor Law and the Collective Labor Agreement, BLF strives to observe and promote respect of the following:
  • ISO 26000 guidelines on social responsibility
  • The United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) principles
  • The International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
  • The Arab Labor Organization (ALO) Conventions on Human Rights.

Objective: This Human Rights policy details how BLF respects Human Rights at the workplace and promotes them within its sphere of influence. It applies equally to the corporate actions of the Bank and to the behavior of its employees.

Scope: The Human Rights policy applies to all employees working at BLF.

I. Respect and promotion of Human Rights at the workplace

  1. Equal employment opportunity and diversity: BLF, as an equal opportunity employer, ensures that its employment practices (recruitment and selection, remuneration, benefits, training, performance appraisal, career advancement, termination, etc) are non-discriminatory with respect to criteria such as gender, age, religion, disability, marital status, pregnancy, wealth, union membership and are solely dependent on the employee’s qualifications and performance. The Bank also applies the principle of equal remuneration for work of equal value.
  2. Violence, harassment and bullying free workplace: BLF ensures that all members of personnel are treated fairly and respectfully. In this context, BLF is committed to ensuring that its workplace is free from violence, power abuse, harassment and bullying. It does not permit nor tolerate any behavior that is violent, insulting, offensive, discriminatory, racist, humiliating, threatening, or degrading of anyone’s dignity at the workplace. The Bank has established and notified its employees of a confidential complaint mechanism allowing them to report any abuse of authority or harassment to the Human Resources Division.
  3. Freedom of Association: BLF recognizes and respects the right of employees to freedom of association. The Bank affirms that employees that have decided to join or to refrain from joining the Federation of Unions of Banks’ Employees as well as those who become syndicate representatives will not be subject to reprisal, dismissal or any sort of discrimination or power abuse. Employees who act as representatives are neither advantaged nor disadvantaged. The Bank assumes a strictly neutral position in this regard. 
  4. Abolition of forced and child labor and disciplinary measures: The Bank categorically rejects all forms of forced or compulsory labor. The Bank shall not withhold any part of any employee’s salary, benefits, property, or documents in order to force such employee to continue working for the bank. The employee shall have the right to leave the workplace premises after completing the standard workday, and is free to terminate his employment provided that he gives legal notice to his employer in accordance withthe Lebanese Labor Law. The Bank forbids child labor as defined in the International Labor Organization Convention on the subject, the United Nations Conventions and the Lebanese laws.
  5. Health and safety: BLF offers a special healthcare program for its active employees and their eligible dependent family members. It also provides medical hospitalization to retirees. BLF is dedicated to ensuring a safe and healthy workplace environment for its employees, and to taking steps to prevent potential accidents and injuries arising out of, associated with or occurring in the course of work, by minimizing, asfar as is reasonably practicable, the risks of work-related accidents, injuries, diseases as well as occupational injuries, illnesses and incidents. Moreover, BLF conducts regular and recorded health and safety training for its employees. The Bank encourages employees to engage in sports activities by offering them the possibility to subscribe to health centers and sports activities free of charge or at reduced prices.In case of long-term illness, the employee’s job is protected for a period ranging from 8 months up to 32 months depending on the employee’s tenure.
  6. Work-life balance: Acknowledging the need for working mothers to balance work and motherhood, BLF offers working mothers of children under the age of 10 the opportunity of balancing working and family responsibilities by opting for a special schedule. The Bank likewise offers special schedule arrangements for employees who are pursuing higher studies. 
  7. Education: Recognizing that the right to education is a fundamental human right the Bank extends grants to support studying employees.
  8. Working conditions: BLF is committed to fair and just working conditions in compliance with the Lebanese Labor Law, the Banks Collective Labor Agreement, and the applicable international conventions ratified by Lebanon.
  9. Employee development and training: BLF is committed to encouraging the growth and career development of its employees by coaching them, providing them with adequate training sessions such as management leadership, registering them to attend national and international conferences, organizing team building activities, etc, thus contributing to their skills upgrading, competencies development, career satisfaction, creativity and motivation. A fully equipped Training Academy has been created for this purpose.
  10. Freedom of expression: BLF recognizes that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. At the same time, a completely unrestricted freedom of expression, may lead to the infringement of the rights of others. Therefore, the Bank practices political and religious neutrality and prohibits discussion of political or religious matters at the workplace. Employees must therefore maintain absolute neutrality towards such topics, issues and events and refrain from displaying in their work and working space political or religious documents and symbols that may be perceived as implying institutional support for a particular affiliation. BLF promotes the freedom of expression amongst its staff by fostering a two-way communication between employees and management, actively encouraging employees to voice their concerns, opinions and problems via multiple communication channels.
  11. Promotion of Human Rights among employees: As Humanism is one of its core values, maybe the most representative one, BLF integrated the Human Rights Policy into its procedures, Human Resources directives, Employee Handbook and performance appraisal. In addition, the Bank actively promotes respect for Human Rights among its employees through regular communications and awareness activities.

II. Respect and promotion of Human Rights in the marketplace

BLF recognizes that individuals have economic and financial needs and thus contributes through its core activity by helping members of society meet those needs. It does so through the provision of various services and products to facilitate education, housing, entrepreneurship, etc.

BLF conducts its business with integrity in an ethical, transparent and fair manner. While complying with all applicable regulations, it does not treat clients in any discriminatory manner with respect to gender, age, religion, disability, marital status or pregnancy, etc. 
To ensure that its products and services are accessible to all customers, it is constantly expanding its local branches and ATM network across Lebanon, increasingly covering all regions outside of the capital Beirut, and developing its e-banking solutions. To meet the needs of its clients abroad, the Bank also works on widening its international presence.

The Bank also influences its clients so that they share its socially responsible commitments by incorporating an environmental and social checklist in their credit file assessment, and adding a contractual provision relating to sustainability.

Prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism: To prevent the illegal use of its products and services, which may be tied to violation of Human Rights, BLF strictly applies and complies with all Lebanese and International standards and regulations with respect to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating Financing of Terrorism (CFT). To ensure respect of Human Rights in its daily activities and operations, the Bank is also committed to fighting corruption and bribery, in line with local laws, international best practices and the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). Furthermore, BLF's policies and procedures include specific measures intended to prevent corruption and bribery such as whistleblowing. BLF does not provide goods and services to entities that are known for violating Human Rights or for committing acts of corruption or bribery.
BLF does not provide goods and services to entities that are reputed for committing Human Rights violations.

Support to vulnerable groups in the community: BLF teams up with various partners to support Human Rights concerns in the areas of women empowerment, youth empowerment, inclusion of persons with disabilities, children’s rights, education, health, financial inclusion, fighting hunger, culture, economic development, environment, etc.

Promotion of Human Rights among suppliers: BLF published a Sustainable Procurement Policy which tackles Labor Rights, Human Rights, Environment and Anti-Corruption amongst other issues. In addition, BLF integrates in all its contracts with suppliers a contractual provision for sustainability stating that:
Banque Libano-Française encourages its suppliers to share the Bank’s CSR commitments and therefore it favors suppliers who:
  • fully comply with applicable laws, rules and regulations of the countries in which they operate
  • respect the internationally recognized rights of workers in their supply chain
  • ensure respect of fair labor standards as well as a safe and healthy working environment
  • demonstrate the highest standards of business ethics and fighting corruption
  • act in an environmentally responsible manner by steadily reducing the environmental footprint of their operations and by undertaking initiatives to help preserve the environment
  • generally commit to incorporate sustainability principles into their business operations by following ISO 26000, UNGC and any other standards on social responsibility.

Banque Libano-Française reserves the right to update or amend this policy at any time

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BDL Approval No.: 729/cc/17 Dated: 13/08/2014