Contracts of Employment

22 Jan
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Annual Leave, Benefits, Blog, Bribery, Contract of employment, employee rights, Employees, employent law, Employment Legislation, Flexible working, Health and Safety, Holidays, Home-workers, Video   |  No Comments

This is a massive one for me and one that I spend most of my professional career talking about!!!


Bribery – Have you protected your business?

27 Jan
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog, Bribery, Compliance, employent law, Employment Legislation, Hertfordshire, Policies and Procedures, training   |  No Comments

I was in a room with 20 different employers this week and asked a simple question….

How many of you have a policy on bribery and have trained your staff in the application of that policy?

Despite the Bribery Act 2010 having come into force in July 2011, 90% of the businesses represented did not have a policy and had not trained their staff in relation to their duties under the Bribery Act. The first case has now been brought under this legislation and a court official was found guilty of being bribed to make a speeding offence disappear.

The previous bribery legislation was mixed and confusing, some of it being over 100 years old.

For those of you who are not clear, bribery is defined as ‘the giving or taking of a reward in return for acting dishonestly and/or in breach of the law’. There are four offences under the Act:

  1. Bribing another person
  2. Being bribed
  3. Bribing a foreign public official
  4. Failure to prevent bribery

It is the last of these which employers need to be especially wary of. There is an absolute obligation for employers, even those with one employee, to have a policy which ensures that employees know that bribery is not acceptable. There is also an absolute obligation for employers to brief / train their staff in relation to the law, their policy and its application to their business environment.

So what counts as bribery? Is it…..

  1. Tipping your postman for Christmas deliveries
  2. Taking clients out for dinner
  3. Taking potential clients our for an afternoon at Wimbledon
  4. Sending clothing samples to a fashion reviewer for their children
  5. Giving a FIFA official an amount of money to secure their vote in deciding the location of the 2022 World Cup? – This news broke the week the legislation came into force!!!

To find out more about The Bribery Act 2010, it’s implications for your business and how to protect your business from prosecution,  join us at the Business Essentials Conference on 29th February 2012 where you will be able to discuss the Act in the context of your business and walk away with a policy, training guidelines and some standard forms and letters. This would normally cost approximately £500 + VAT but the one day conference will cost you just £120. For more information and to book visit or call us on 01923 504100.

Are you guilty of bribery and corruption? Are you sure?

21 Jul
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Bribery, Corruption, HR, News of the World   |  No Comments

It’s everywhere …… every newspaper, every news bulletin, every conversation down the pub. How could they not have known? Who knew what? Are they telling the truth? Will Cameron go next?

Have you taken a step back and looked at your own business? When you ask someone experienced, someone you have known for 5+ years, someone who always delivers on time and within budget to do a job for you, do you ask them how they are going to do it? Do you look over their shoulder and make sure they are doing it legally? Do you ‘know’ that they are within the law?

What if the law changes? What if everything you have done previously is now illegal? What if taking a potential customer out for a drink or a meal is seen as bribery? Who is responsible? Who will hold the employee to account? Who would go to jail for breaking the law?

Although the News of the World scandal has thrown bribery and corruption into the spotlight, July 1st saw the long awaited introduction of the Bribery Act. The timing ……. merely a co-incidence, but the impact is huge and bought into startling reality by the claims of hacking, failure to carry out proper checks, failure to properly investigate claims and the acceptance of bribes.

As a business owner or manager, there is now a legal duty for you to ensure that your employees know the law, are trained and understand what is acceptable and what is not, are monitored to ensure compliance and undertake risk assessments to identify potential opportunities for breaches. ALL companies need a documented and communicated policy on bribery and corruption. Don’t expose yourself or your business to the risk. Make sure you protect your business, yourself and your family.