Anti-corruption and Bribery Policy
It’s illegal for employers and their employees to accept or make gifts, payments or incentives to gain extra business. Business owners, company officers, employees and agents can be fined, imprisoned, or both if they’re found to have bribed another person or accepted a bribe to gain an advantage. So, it’s a good idea to have a policy covering this area.
When we use the word ‘bribe’, we don’t just mean a financial gift. A bribe can include other ‘incentives’, which are not financial, such as a promise to do or not do something in the future. It also doesn’t matter if the person giving or accepting the bribe understands that’s what they’re doing. A person can be guilty of an offence when they accept or give an incentive even if they don’t think it’s a bribe.
In general terms, larger businesses and those operating overseas, will need more detailed policies as they’re more likely to come across situations where bribes are given or expected, but it’s a good idea for all businesses to have a policy covering anti-corruption and bribery.
A policy will help reduce the chances of bribery and corruption taking place and it will also go a long way towards the business showing that it has done all it can to avoid those illegal acts occurring. This will help the business make out its defence in any criminal case brought against it.
Larger businesses will need to do more than just have a policy in place as they’ll also need to train their employees, to make sure they know what they should and shouldn’t be doing and how they can spot danger areas. In addition to having a policy and providing training, businesses will need to carry out risk assessments and implement monitoring and auditing systems to ensure that bribes aren’t given or accepted.
Your responsibility as an Employer
As a matter of law employers must give employees employment contracts which cover the key terms of the employment relationship, but the contract won’t cover all of the policies, procedures and expectations for the relationship between a business and the people within it. A employee handbook can include information for all team members, including employees, workers, apprentices and agency staff. Not only can a employee handbook bring together useful guidance for everyone on the culture, values and expectations the business as but it will often be a resource that can save a dispute from arising or provide the best framework for resolving a dispute. The non-contractual policies and procedures that can be included in a employee handbook will sit alongside contracts of employment to set out how employees are expected to act and how the employer will deal with certain situations.
Putting all the policies and procedures together in one place that is accessible to everyone working in a business is good practice and can provide an invaluable framework for reference on all of the HR issues to cover. If any grievance or dispute arises, having a policy or procedure to refer to and follow can help prevent the situation escalating. If the worst occurs and a claim comes before a tribunal, being able to show the policies and procedures that were followed can make a huge difference to the outcome.
For more information about how having an Anti-corruption and Bribery Policy could help your business, get in touch with our Employment Law team today on 0330 912 8338.
© Atkins Dellow LLP 2022
© Atkins Dellow LLP 2022
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