In many industries, donations are governed by a very specific set of compliance laws. Yes, you read that if you give the wrong gift to the wrong person, you can get into trouble. These laws dictate what types of gifts are appropriate and which are not. If the event lasts longer than one day and you are offered free attendance for any day on which you are not assigned to submit information on behalf of the DOI or your office, free attendance for those non-speaking days may be acceptable under the exception to the high-attendance gifting rules.
In addition to addressing laws governing gift-giving, such as anti-bribery laws, a business may also be governed by additional industry-based regulations. It does not apply if you give a gift to an entire company, unless the gift is intended for a particular person or group of people within the company. If you don't see this person outside of work, it's a good indication that you shouldn't buy them a gift. However, if the donation falls within the de minimis supplemental benefit exclusion, the donation does not need to be reported as income.
If you give a gift to a member of a customer's family, the gift is generally considered an indirect gift to the customer. Most larger companies have established clear and specific gift policies as part of their codes of conduct. Before launching her own company, TheOnSwitch in 2003, she worked as a senior executive for major brands, where she often gave (and sometimes, unfortunately, refused) gifts. The following gifts from foreign governments are authorized by the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act, 5 U.
Gifts can be given to employees for vacations and professional accomplishments, or they can be given to customers and vendors in appreciation of their continued support. As always, if you're not sure if your donation qualifies, ask a compliance officer or HR representative before making the purchase. Buying a gift that is too extravagant can send the wrong message no matter who you give it to. Yes, gift policies exist to prevent bribery, but they also prevent favoritism and conflicts of interest (or the emergence of such).
You should consider refusing a permitted gift if you believe that a reasonable person would question your impartiality or integrity as a result of accepting the gift. There is a personal relationship between you and the other employee that would justify the gift and there is no superior relationship between the subordinate officer. There are some limited circumstances in which you can accept gifts given due to your official position or from prohibited sources.