Bribery and corruption within a workplace can have serious legal ramifications for those involved. A recent public case of bribery that has caught much media attention is with Prince Charles’ former aide, MIchael Fawcett. Fawcett’s decision to step down from his role came after accusations of accepting bribery from a royal charity donor. Fawcett promised to help the donor, Dr Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz, receive an honour and a British Citizenship.
Mahfouz was listed as a supporter on the Princes’s foundation website. The Sunday Times report that Mahfouz donated 1.5m to restoration projects of interest to Charles. These include Dumfries house and the Castle of Mey in Scotland.
Fawcett would assist Mahfouz by coordinating the application process for his citizenship and upgrading his honour from OBE to CBE.
What is Bribery?
“Offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official, or other person, in charge of a public or legal duty”.Wikipedia
The Bribery and Corruption Act 2010 lists all the related law in the UK for Bribery and Corruption. The law makes a distinction between different offenses involved with bribery and corruption. For example, receiving a bribe, offering bribes and the bribing of public officials.
How Does Bribery and Corruption Take Place at Work?
Bribery can be common in the workplace. It is a highly unethical practice that people use for a range of personal benefits. For example, to achieve business deals that are not achievable without an added incentive. It may often be more present in high pressure work environments. For example, if someone is to need something quickly, they might consider bribery in order to speed up processes.
Earnest and Young (2018) published a report stating 34% of executives believed bribery and corruption took place within their companies.
Consequences of Bribery and Corruption in the Workplace
Bribery can come with very serious legal consequences for those involved. Businesses also risk legal action if they fail to show that procedures are in place against bribery and corruption. Therefore, if an employee or associated partner commits an offense, both the individual and company could receive an unlimited fine.
Bribery and Corruption Protection
In order for a company to protect itself from bribery charges and investigations, adequate procedures must be in place. These procedures must demonstrate an understanding of the Bribery Act 2010. Furthermore, one should ensure these procedures are known around the workspace in so that everyone is aware of them.
One way to ensure workers are aware of the necessary guidance is to include it as part of employee handbooks. Many employee handbooks include an anti-bribery policy. These policies should aim to be appropriate with regards to the level of risk with the company. These may include:
- The companies approach to reduce and control the risk of bribery and corruption.
- Rules about gifts, hospitality and donations.
- Guidance on conducting business. for example, negotiation contracts.
- Rules for avoiding conflicts of interest.
To reduce bribery in the workplace, employers should make staff ware of the law. Staff training and seminars can be useful, allowing any questions to be answered regarding the policy and further ensuring staff are aware of the rules.
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