Ethics and compliance

The Mérieux Foundation staff and anyone working with the foundation, in France and abroad, adhere to a Code of Conduct that reflects the values of our family foundation, which has official public interest status.


A family foundation, with official public interest status, the Mérieux Foundation works for the greater good to improve public health. The foundation’s actions are carried out in accordance with a Code of Conduct that all staff and people working with the foundation undertake to respect, based on the values of transparency, professionalism, quality, independence, non-discrimination and respect.

The Mérieux Foundation is committed to creating an environment that facilitates open and transparent communication so that its employees, partners and any other person in contact with the structure can report suspected violations of these commitments.

The options below allow you to report and raise these possible suspicions so that corrective measures can be taken by the Mérieux Foundation.



Integrity hotline

Our values

The implementation of our activities in France and abroad is based on a charter that upholds the Mérieux Foundation’s values.


  • Transparency: the actions undertaken by the Mérieux Foundation are understandable and clear. They are detailed in assessment, narrative and financial reports as part of rigorous project management.
  • Professionalism: the Mérieux Foundation acts in a professional context with skilled personnel motivated by the fight against infectious diseases in the interests of efficiency and impact for vulnerable populations.
  • Quality: the Mérieux Foundation implements programs meeting international quality standards in the scientific and medical fields.
  • Independence: the Mérieux Foundation acts according to public health priorities related to infectious diseases, regardless of ideological or commercial considerations.
  • Non-discrimination: the Mérieux Foundation implements its programs impartially with no discrimination against people, gender, or political or religious opinions.
  • Respect: the Mérieux Foundation respects the cultural specificities and environments in which it implements its programs.

Code of Conduct

Each staff member and person working with the foundation undertakes to comply with the foundation’s Code of Conduct, which governs all of its activities.

Complaints by staff

Members may submit a complaint, in writing or orally, to their line manager, their Human Resources department or their staff representative.

Violations of the Code of Conduct

Each Member of the Mérieux Foundation is required to comply with this global Code of Conduct. Any Member who violates this Code, or who tolerates its violation may be subject to disciplinary penalties up to and including termination of employment.

Fight against corruption – Integrity


The Mérieux Foundation is committed to conducting its work without resorting to corruption. There may be no bribes, donations or illegal payments, direct or indirect.

Members must respect ethical standards and adhere to all laws and regulations that are applicable in the workplace. The Mérieux Foundation will not use corruption to obtain or maintain a partnership or any other advantage in an international operation. Any behavior running counter to this strict prohibition will be notified and penalized.

Relationships with friends and family

The Mérieux Foundation has every interest in ensuring that decisions are made without being influenced by Members’ families or friends. Any potential conflicts of interest arising in the professional context must be notified to one’s manager. In addition, Members shall take all necessary precautions to avoid disclosing confidential information to friends and their families, or obtaining such information from them.

Use of confidential information

Members of the Mérieux Foundation must not take advantage of their position to directly or indirectly make a profit for themselves or for a relative.

Members must not make any decision that might be influenced by their personal interests. In such situations, the final decision must be arbitrated by the Member’s line manager after he/she has been previously informed of the potential conflict of interest.

No Mérieux Foundation Member shall knowingly misrepresent or conceal a significant fact in a document or communication concerning the Mérieux Foundation.

Use of Mérieux Foundation resources

Members must use the Mérieux Foundation’s property and services efficiently and solely for the needs of the Mérieux Foundation, and never for their own benefit or for the benefit of a third party, and in no case for illegal or unethical reasons.

Intellectual property, working time, funds, machinery and other equipment such as telephones, photocopiers, supplies, computers, software, Internet/Intranet, tools, Mérieux Foundation vehicles are intended for professional use only. Any exception requires prior written agreement by the Mérieux Foundation.

Use outside the Mérieux Foundation

Members must not use funds, goods or services belonging to the Mérieux Foundation as part of any external undertaking.

Accepting gifts and invitations

Receiving a donation, a gratuity or an invitation to entertainment that may be perceived as unfairly influencing professional relationships is a conflict of interest. As such, the Mérieux Foundation Members must not accept from partners or potential partners excessive gifts that might be interpreted as influencing their professional decisions.

Gender equality index

The “Loi Avenir” (Future Law) adopted in France on 5 September 2018 and the decree of 8 January 2019 stipulate that companies with at least 50 and < 250 employees are required to measure and reduce pay gaps between women and men, as well as publish a Gender Equality Index on their websites.

The Index consists of a score out of 100. It is calculated based on the following 4 indicators:

  • The pay gap between women and men, calculated from the average of women’s earnings compared to men’s, by age group and by category of equivalent positions (44 points);
  • The gap between rates of individual pay rises between women and men (including promotions) (40 points);
  • The percentage of female employees who have benefited from a pay rise in the year of their return from maternity leave, if increases had taken place during the period in which the leave had been taken (15 points) This Indicator is incalculable because there has been no return from maternity leave. The points of the other 3 indicators have been reweighted;
  • The number of employees among the top ten earners whose gender is under-represented in that group (15 points).

The overall score for the 2020 index is 99/100

Protection and appropriate use of assets


All confidential information must be treated appropriately – whether it is contained in conventional documents such as reports, summaries, etc., or in electronic tools such as voice mail, e-mail boxes, computer files or spreadsheets.

Confidential matters must be discussed only with Members who have a legitimate right of access to this information.


In order to be valid, any commitment made on behalf of the Mérieux Foundation with third parties must be formalized in writing in a convention or other appropriate legal document. Validation and final approval of such a document must be in accordance with existing, applicable processes and procedures, including obtaining the necessary signatures and approvals.

Inappropriate use of information systems and technologies

Information system tools such as e-mails, Internet or telephones used by the Mérieux Foundation belong to the Foundation. Using them for non-professional reasons, other than exceptional personal use, and using them in ways that could be contrary to one of the Mérieux Foundation policies (including harassment, for example) is strictly prohibited.

Quality, health, safety and environment

Protection of people and the environment

Members of the Mérieux Foundation must take the necessary measures to avoid any exposure to risk and provide a secure working environment that respects health, safety and environment imperatives.

They must take particular care to:

  • Perform their work safely,
  • Be familiar with, and respect the law and procedures in the sectors that are affected by Health, Safety and Environment regulations,
  • Immediately report any dangerous work conditions to minimize workplace accidents and allow corrective action to be taken,
  • Act consistently with regard to the Mérieux Foundation’s commitments to the Environment.

Illicit substances

The Mérieux Foundation is committed to maintaining a healthy, drug-free work environment. Any possession or consumption of a controlled substance (other than prescribed medicine) is strictly prohibited in the workplace.

No inappropriate attitude related to the use of drugs or alcohol will be tolerated.

Compliance in terms of research and bioethics

The Mérieux Foundation is committed to protecting everyone’s health by taking into account, in advance, the bioethical implications of its research activities.

Respect for laws

Each Member of the Mérieux Foundation agrees to respect the international and European conventions, laws and regulations in force in France and in all the countries in which the Foundation operates.

Each Member of the Mérieux Foundation is responsible for complying with these laws and regulations and for adhering to the principles of this Code of Conduct, and must demonstrate integrity and honesty in his or her work and in his or her relations with third parties.

The Mérieux Foundation will in no way tolerate any illegal or unethical behavior.

Social responsibility


The Mérieux Foundation is committed to managing the careers of its Members in an equitable manner.

Humanitarian workers enjoy the same equitable working conditions.

Respect for diversity means adapting or making reasonable adaptations to assist those with disabilities and specific social needs. It also means respecting cultural differences. The diversity of our Members is a strength that will continue to be promoted and supported within the Mérieux Foundation.

Harassment and violence at work

The Mérieux Foundation is committed to providing a work environment free from harassment. The Mérieux Foundation will not tolerate the harassment of an individual for any reason whatsoever. In particular, the Mérieux Foundation’s policy prohibits sexual harassment, ranging from unwanted sexual advances and requests for sexual favors to any discriminatory physical or verbal conduct related to sex.

Any act or threat of violence in the workplace by or against Members is prohibited. The Mérieux Foundation strictly prohibits Members from making threats or engaging in violent acts towards colleagues or anyone having a professional relationship with the Mérieux Foundation.

Members shall not bring any object or substance that could be considered dangerous, and no weapons, into the workplace.

Child welfare

In accordance with Convention 138 of the International Labour Organization and the applicable provisions of the Labor Code, no kind of work may be performed by a young person under 16 years of age at the Mérieux Foundation, neither at its headquarters nor in any of the countries in which the Foundation operates.

Work by young people between the ages of 16 and 18 will be accepted only in the strict context of the aforementioned conventional, legal and regulatory provisions.

Fight against forced labor

Members of the Mérieux Foundation undertake never to resort to any form of forced labor. Forced or compulsory labor is any work or service required of an individual under the threat of any penalty whatsoever and for which he/she has not volunteered. Providing wages or other remuneration to a worker does not necessarily mean that the work is not forced or compulsory. Work must be given freely and employees should be free to leave their work in accordance with locally established rules.

Respect for privacy

The Mérieux Foundation is committed to ensuring the confidentiality of personal information. The Mérieux Foundation limits access to this information and its use solely to legitimate needs, such as the administration of human resources and individual development.

Staff training and assessment

The Mérieux Foundation is committed to implementing a training and assessment policy for staff in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

Download the Mérieux Foundation code of conduct

This document is an English translation of the original French version. In the event of any discrepancy between the two versions, the French language version shall prevail.