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Topic: Personnel management

letter permitting employee to offer gift-hospitality
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Letter permitting employee to offer gift-hospitality


Letter permitting employee to offer gift/hospitality

The Bribery Act 2010 is considered to be the harshest piece of anti-corruption legislation anywhere in the world. Not only does it contain corporate criminal offences, employers must also "adequately" prevent bribery from occurring. So you must ensure that your employees don't offer gifts or hospitality as a financial incentive or reward to any clients or customers. Our letter will help you here.

harsh laws 

The Bribery Act 2010 is not a helpful piece of legislation. It contains a number of corporate criminal offences, which include "failure to prevent bribery". The penalties for breaching the legislation are severe, but an employer will be able to defend an allegation of bribery if it can demonstrate that it had "adequate procedures" in place designed to prevent it from occurring. One area that's likely to trip employers up is the giving of corporate gifts or invitations of hospitality. This is because many employees are permitted to offer them to clients and customers as a matter of course.

But here's the danger. In theory at least, simply purchasing an alcoholic drink for someone who your Company does business with could mean that an offence is committed by both you and the employee. Whilst it's unlikely that the authorities would be interested in this type of activity (although you can never be 100% sure), they will pay close attention to any "significant financial incentive" that's made with the purpose of bringing business into your company. This could be a corporate golf or spa day for potential clients, expensive restaurant meals or gift vouchers sent as a "thank you". So you must ensure that employees don't have free rein to dish these out.


Setting rules  

As a starting point, you should insist that an employee always seeks your prior written authority before they offer any corporate gift or invitation of hospitality of significant value. You can set this amount, but somewhere around the £100-£200 mark should be sufficient.  In addition, your letter of authority should:

  • confirm the proposed recipient's name; and
  • identify the proposed corporate gift or invitation of hospitality; and
  • point out that this instance does not set a precedent for future requests; and
  • provide details of who the employee should contact if they have any queries.

Our Letter Permitting Employee to Offer Gift/Hospitality sets out all this information. You can amend it for each situation and use it to set out any conditions you choose to impose, e.g. that the gift does not exceed £100. The employee concerned should not take any steps to make the offer until your permission is received. Any attempt to do so warrants disciplinary action.


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