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The giving or acceptance of gifts or offers in the context of a business relationship is often problematic. If the gift or offer is of significant value, acceptance can create the appearance of a conflict of interest. It is important that all relationships with suppliers, customers, and other parties be based on lawful, efficient, and fair business practices. Exercise good judgment and moderation in either giving or receiving gifts or entertainment since these activities often create a risk of being seen as an attempt to exert or gain improper influence.

If your organization has a written code of conduct, be sure to understand the limits to acceptance of gifts, if they are allowed at all. As a rule of thumb, before giving or receiving any gift or entertainment, ask yourself whether an outsider might view the gift or entertainment as an effort to improperly influence a purchase or sales decision. You should not accept a gift that you would not be authorized to give. Gifts from a vendor should not normally be accepted unless they are given in compliance with the directives of your organization’s code of conduct or the gift carries the logo of the vendor and is of minimal value such as mugs and pens to name a couple. Gifts should never be in the form of cash.


Get more information about the Ethics in the Workplace course.