10th December 2021

Employment Law Advent Calendar: Day 10

It’s the 10th of December and I’m so happy you decided to ‘Stay Another Day’ with my Employment Law Advent Cal-deer. Look behind door number 10 to find out who or what is there to make sure employers are ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ this Christmas.

It’s a bottle of wine. And a Christmas hamper, a lunch and a branded diary.

‘Tis the season to receive gifts from customers, clients and suppliers, but do you know that the Bribery Act 2010 makes it an offence for employers to prevent bribery by people working on their behalf alongside offences for offering or accepting a bribe? If found guilty, the company and its directors could be imprisoned, fined or both.

Can you recognise a bribe?

  • A household name toy shop offers Santa the use of its corporate beach house in the Bahamas in January to say ‘thank you’ for all he does to bring joy and cheer to children. The same toy shop is negotiating with Santa’s Head Elf to advertise on the side of Santa’s sleigh.
  • A 10 year old boy leaves out for Santa on Christmas Eve a nip of 50 year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky and a box of whole crunchy hazelnuts in a creamy hazelnut filling and crisp wafer shell covered with chocolate and roasted hazelnut pieces. The same boy wants a top of the range gaming console.
  • Mrs Claus offers cash for a place on the nice list.

There’s nothing wrong with a modest gift (think a glass of milk and a mince pie), but any gift intended to influence another to perform their role or function improperly is bribery.

What can an employer do?

An employer with ‘adequate procedures’ in place to prevent bribery will avoid being found guilty of an offence. Adequate procedures include:

  1. Draft and implement a robust Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Policy and provide training to all employees to ensure they understand the obligations placed upon them.
  2. Make sure contracts of employment and the disciplinary procedure specifically mention this Policy so employees are left in no doubt that bribery will be treated as gross misconduct and could result in dismissal.
  3. Create and maintain a gifts and hospitality register.

Make sure you elf a merry little Christmas and contact a member of the Blackadders Employment Team working in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and across Scotland for help and advice.

Donna Reynolds, Partner
Accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a Specialist in Employment Law & Discrimination Law
Employment Law
Blackadders LLP



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