Christmas is coming and the season for giving will soon be with us, so what should employers do with regard to the Bribery Act 2010 and the possibility that some of their employees might be offered gifts or hospitality?
This is a time when companies are possibly at their highest risk of breaching the Act by failing to prevent inappropriate conduct amongst their people. It is a time of uncertainty for many employees because they do not know, or fully understand, what they can and cannot give or receive, and this can lead to the possibility of embarrassment at the very least.
Because the Act is relatively new there are still many companies that are not sure what their responsibilities are or whether or not their policy will protect them should a problem arise.
One misconception is around the value of any such offering, but this is not relevant; the issue is whether or not it is intended as an inducement. Many companies have introduced policies placing value limits and there is nothing wrong in doing so, but the policy must make it clear that no gift or hospitality that is accepted is in the form of an inducement or as a reward for having favoured that supplier.
It is quite proper for companies that do business with each other to make a gesture of thanks for past business, and it is worth any business reminding its employees of the company policy both in terms of giving and receiving.