Ethics & Human Rights

Ethics and Human Rights

At Restaurant Brands International, we strive to create an environment where franchisees can’t wait to open one of our brands’ restaurants; a place where our guests enjoy visiting; a place where employees love coming to work each day; a place that is committed, without exception, to inclusion, respect, accountability and “doing what’s right”.

Company Employees

Our commitment to “doing what’s right” is the driving force behind our Code of Business Ethics and Conduct. The Code serves as a guide to ethical conduct for our employees around the world. Every year, all employees who work in our global restaurant support centres, in field-based roles or in one of our distribution and manufacturing facilities are required to certify that they have read the Code in its entirety and that they are committed to abide by it at all times in their day-to-day work.

The Code references our approach to Human Rights: Every person – no matter where they live or their circumstance – deserves to be treated with dignity and equality. Doing what’s right means that our key business strategies are led with the highest standards of ethics, honesty and integrity. We touch the lives of millions of people across our franchisees’ operations, our supply chains, and our corporate offices, so we have a key role to play in protecting human rights, promoting safe workplaces, and promoting fair labour practices across our business. Employees have a responsibility to report any known or suspected violations of human rights and address any negative human rights impacts related to the Company, its franchisees or suppliers. Employees must also be aware of and adhere to international standards to avoid impacts to human rights through the business they conduct on behalf of the Company.

The Code is central to Restaurant Brands International’s ethics and compliance program, but it doesn’t act alone. Restaurant Brands International also maintains a comprehensive framework of policies and programs that support our commitment to ethical conduct. Some highlights include the following:

  • Our Commitment to Team Members forms the common foundation of the workplace policies that are upheld in our Company-owned restaurants. While this document does not apply to Burger King®, Tim Hortons®, Popeyes® or Firehouse Subs® restaurants owned and operated by franchisees or to the employees employed at those franchised restaurants, our franchisees are legally and contractually required to comply with all applicable laws in their jurisdictions where they operate, and in the spirit of the values that our brands represent, we encourage them to adopt policies and to operate their businesses in a manner that is consistent with the commitments set out in Our Commitment to Team Members.
  • Our Anti-Bribery Policy prohibits any action that would violate anti-bribery or anti-corruption laws in the countries in which Restaurant Brands International and its brands do business, and requires employees to take all responsible steps to prevent violations. Employees who may interact with government officials on behalf of the Company are also required to participate in regular training on the topic of anti-corruption and the Company’s policy.
  • Consistent with the Code, our Conflict of Interest Policy requires employees to avoid engaging in activities that conflict with the Company’s interests or create a perceived conflict, and to disclose any circumstances that may pose a conflict of interest. It supplements the Code by providing additional guidance and information regarding specific areas that may affect Company employees in their business activities.
  • Our Non-Discrimination, Anti-Harassment and Equal Employment Policy reinforces the Company’s commitment to a work environment in which all individuals are treated with dignity and respect. The Policy makes clear that Restaurant Brands International and its subsidiaries prohibit and will not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind, whether on the basis of race, colour, ethnicity, sex, religion, national origin, citizenship, pregnancy, familial status, sexual orientation, disability, age, military service status, gender identity, expression or reassignment, genetic information or any other characteristic protected by law.
  • Our Whistle Blowing Policy provides for the receipt and treatment of complaints received by RBI with respect to violations of the Code of Business Ethics and Conduct, as well as other RBI policies and controls. Under the Policy, the General Counsel is responsible for conducting the investigation of any complaint received and reporting to the Audit Committee. The Audit Committee is responsible for overseeing the secure reporting process and determining what action should be taken with respect to a complaint, provided the General Counsel may take action directly for immaterial complaints. The Whistle Blowing Policy is available in the “Investors—Corporate Governance” section of our website at
  • Our quarterly compliance training program helps to ensure that our employees know and understand our key policies and how they apply in their day-to-day work. And because compliance is so central to our business, this training is tied into our annual bonus program – corporate and field-based employees who fail to complete their mandatory compliance training lose out on the opportunity to earn a full bonus for that year.

Our General Counsel and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer monitors compliance with the Code and these policies and reports any violations to the Board.

The Code, these policies and the Company’s compliance training program all reinforce the obligation of employees to speak up if they know of or suspect any violations of the Code, Company policy or the law. Employees are encouraged to report any violations to their manager, a member of the People or Legal department or the Company’s Chief Compliance Officer.

In situations where it is preferable or necessary to provide an anonymous report in confidence, the Company encourages employees to use its ethics hotline, hosted by a third-party hotline provider, EthicsPoint. Where requested, the information provided to EthicsPoint is sent to the Company by EthicsPoint on a totally confidential and anonymous basis.

Once received by the Company, all reports are taken seriously, and reviewed and acted upon promptly and appropriately.

Employees who report concerns in good faith are not subject to discipline or retaliation of any kind.

The Restaurant Workforce

The vast majority of our brands’ restaurants are owned and operated by franchisees, who are independent business owners. Under the terms of their franchise agreements and in accordance with applicable laws, franchisees are solely responsible for all employment matters at their restaurants, including setting policies related to benefits and wages. 

We focus our efforts on providing our franchisees with support and resources that enable them to adopt competitive employment practices and to adapt in a changing labour market – all while creating meaningful connections with their local communities, employees, and guests. Indeed, the ability of our franchisees to operate in a manner that reflects the realities of their business and their local community is a hallmark upon which each of our brands were built.   

In support of our franchisee efforts, our brands have developed and will continue to develop a wide range of tools and resources that franchisees can choose to use as they look to hire and retain restaurant employees, including recruitment toolkits, access to compensation benchmarking data, and frameworks for incentive programs. 

In addition to Our Commitment to Team Members for company-owned restaurants, we also continue to support franchisees in their efforts to foster the learning and development of their team members, including mandatory operations and brand-based training, optional learning on other select topics, where applicable, and through scholarship opportunities. 


We have formalized oversight of workplace practices and risks at the board level by including such oversight in our Audit Committee Charter. The Audit Committee reviews and discusses with management key workforce practices and risks that may affect our brands and business operations, at least twice a year. 

Executives and Board

In addition to the Code of Business Ethics and Conduct, our Board has adopted the following Codes:

  • Code of Ethics for Executive Officers. This Code of Ethics is applicable to our senior executives to promote the highest ethical standards in RBI’s operation of its global business and the activities of senior management. Our senior executives certify compliance with the Code of Ethics for Executive Officers on an annual basis
  • Code of Conduct for Directors. This Code serves to acknowledge the Board’s responsibility for promoting an ethical culture through the actions of its members and the effective oversight of our compliance programs, policies and procedures. Our Board members certify compliance with the Code of Conduct for Directors on an annual basis.

Our General Counsel and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer monitors compliance with these Codes and reports any violations to the Board.

Furthermore, each of the Code of Ethics for Executive Officers and the Code of Conduct for Directors contemplates that questions or concerns under the Code, as applicable, can be brought directly to the Chairman of the Board.


At Restaurant Brands International, we also believe that our commitment to “doing what’s right” simply can’t be achieved without the same commitment from the vendors and suppliers that provide the ingredients in our food, the equipment used to make it and many other critical inputs into our business. That’s why we’ve established a Code of Business Ethics and Conduct for Vendors that sets forth the basic requirements that must be met by all vendors, including their employees, officers, agents and subcontractors, who are approved to do business with us.

Approved vendors were required to certify their compliance with the Vendor Code through self-assessment questionnaires, prioritizing the highest risk vendors commencing in 2020. To date, vendors representing over 85% of our global volumes have completed their certification through a self-assessment questionnaire. Our compliance approach is supplemented with verification audits, which have been conducted for a sample of priority vendors representing over 50% of our global volumes. If RBI determines that a vendor has violated the Vendor Code, RBI may terminate its business relationship with the vendor or require the vendor to implement a corrective action plan. Additional details about vendor compliance and reporting violations can be found in the Vendor Code of Conduct on page 7.

Some of the highlights related to working conditions and compliance are as follows:

  • Our Commitment to Human Rights. At RBI, we are committed, very simply, to fundamental human rights for all, and we expect our suppliers to conduct their activities in a manner that respects human rights. We are guided by the principles set out in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and in the laws and policies of the authorities that prescribe standards for human rights in the many jurisdictions where our Vendors operate. While not exhaustive, the Code provides further information on many of the human rights principles and practices that we expect Vendors to uphold.
  • Wages and Benefits. Vendors must compensate their employees by providing wages, benefits and overtime premiums that meet or exceed the minimum legal requirements in the jurisdiction in which the Vendor is doing business, or the local industry standard, whichever is greater. If local laws do not provide for overtime pay, hourly wage rates for overtime must be at least equal to the rates for the regular work shift. Vendors must pay their employees in a timely manner, accounting for all hours worked, and must communicate to their employees the basis upon which their compensation was calculated.
  • Working Hours. Vendors are expected to carry out their operations in ways that limit overtime to a level that ensures humane and productive working conditions. Vendors are required to follow all applicable national and local laws and industry standards pertaining to the number of hours and days worked by all employees who perform work for the Restaurant Brands International System. Where there are no applicable laws, a workweek should be restricted to 60 hours, including overtime, except in emergency or unusual situations, and employees should be allowed at least one day off every seven days.
  • Forced Labour. Restaurant Brands International believes that employment should be freely chosen. Accordingly, Restaurant Brands International has zero tolerance for involuntary labour of any kind, and will terminate its business relationship with any Vendor who uses involuntary labour or purchases from any subcontractor who uses involuntary labour of any kind. In addition, Vendors must not subject their employees to any restrictions on their freedom of movement unrelated to the conditions of their employment, including requiring their employees to surrender any government-issued identification, passports or work permits as a condition of employment.
  • Child Labour. Vendors must comply with all applicable child labour laws, including those related to minimum age, hiring, wages, hours worked, overtime and working conditions. The minimum age for full time workers must not be less than 15 years of age, except as permitted in accordance with International Labour Organization practices.
  • Diversity, Discrimination and Harassment. Restaurant Brands International values, honours and respects differences and diversity in its employees, franchisees, guests and Vendors. Restaurant Brands International expects Vendors to provide a work environment that offers equal opportunity to their employees and that is free from unlawful discrimination or harassment – one in which each employee is treated with dignity and respect. No form of discipline involving corporal punishment, abuse or harassment (whether psychological, sexual or verbal) is permitted, and disciplinary measures must comply with local laws and internationally recognized human rights.
  • Freedom of Association. Vendors must respect the rights of their employees to associate, or not associate, with any group, and must comply with local laws regarding employees’ rights to freely join and form workers’ organizations. Vendors must not threaten, penalize, or discriminate against employees based on union membership, or make employment conditional on relinquishing union membership or an agreement not to join a union.
  • Health and Safety. Vendors are expected to provide all of their employees with a safe and healthy working environment and, where provided, living environment. Vendors must comply with all applicable laws regarding working conditions, including workplace health and safety, sanitation, fire safety, risk protection, and electrical, mechanical and structural safety. At a minimum, Vendors must provide potable drinking water, clean and accessible restrooms, adequate lighting and ventilation, fire and emergency exits, essential life safety equipment, emergency aid kits and access to emergency medical care. In addition, Vendors should establish their own health and safety policies and should take all reasonable steps to implement adequate health and safety measures to protect workers from workplace accidents and injuries.
  • Employment Status. Vendors are required to comply, and to ensure their employees’ compliance, with all applicable immigration laws and regulations, and must only employ workers who are legally authorized to work in the jurisdiction in which the Vendor operates. Vendors are expected to verify their employees’ work authorization status, and to maintain records to support their verification.