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Dealing with backhanders

If only the economy could recover as quickly as Andy Murray. Only 28 days after he suffered an emotional defeat at the hands of Roger Federer at Wimbledon, his signature backhand shot lead him to victory and a gold medal. But it’s not only tennis players who need to be alert to backhanders.

A post on our Public Law and Regulatory Team blog offers a reminder about the importance of ensuring that businesses comply with the Bribery Act 2010 when offering corporate hospitality against the backdrop of a jam-packed calendar of summer sporting events. It emphasises the consequences of failing to comply with the 2010 Act and advises employers to ensure they have in place a bribery policy and effective means of monitoring compliance with that policy.

It suggests that: “A logical first step is to agree as an organisation what is “sensible and proportionate” hospitality, set this down in a policy, and communicate this across all levels of the organisation. Once communicated, make sure you have procedures in place to monitor compliance with the policy guidance.”

One of the offences to which corporate employers are exposed to under the 2010 Act is failing to prevent bribery on its behalf. Employers should make sure that employees organising and attending any corporate events are well versed in what they can and cannot do to bring in business. From an employment law perspective, employees should also be well aware of the consequences for them personally of failing to comply with the employer’s bribery policy (e.g. the taking of disciplinary action).

But employers have to look beyond their own employees: this offence can also be committed by other “associated persons”, covering any person (being an individual or an incorporated or unincorporated body) who “performs services” for or on behalf of the organisation and so could include contractors, suppliers, agency workers, distributors, secondees, advisers, and joint venture partners.

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