Hello. I am looking for some advice regarding a sticky situation with one of our vendors. We have a fairly strict gift and entertainment policy that forbids our employees from accepting anything from a vendor with a value of over $50. One of our vendors has made a habit of presenting our employees with expensive gifts such as watches, Ipads, golf outings, and airline certificates. Our employees know not to accept these gifts. We have approached this vendor multiple times, explaining the policy and asking them to refrain from offering these items as it is against our policy. One of my staff let me know that the vendor recently offered them a very expensive set of Bluetooth headphones and told this team member that because the headphones had the vendor's logo on them, it was just promotional merchandise and didn't really count as a "gift."
The situation is very troubling, as this vendor is not one we could easily replace, and there is nothing in the contract regarding gifts and entertainment. I would appreciate any suggestions for dealing with the particular issue. Thanks for any help you can provide.
Hello,We have a group of folks at our firm (private equity) that attend many AGMs. They are always receiving swag bags at these events that include high end raincoats, travel bags, headphones, etc. If the items are branded, they are presumed to have no resale value and do not require any disclosure / notification to our L&C department. This is a well - known and accepted workaround in our industry. The vendors are very aware of this and have become very smart with the branding placement as well. They often put logos on the inside or hidden areas of items given. Our L&C team has no issue with this.
Hope this helps!
The core of your question seems to be a corporate culture issue. If people are accepting gifts that your policy overtly prohibits, the message to your company is "I'm not following this rule because no one can/will stop me.".The other suggestions noted so far (CEO waiver, tell the vendor to stop etc) all are valid. They appear to sidestep the real issue: why are your employees taking these gifts? (Beyond the obvious: They're really nice ....and FREE.)