December 07, 2015

Know your Alabama Ethics Law before accepting gifts from UAB vendors

ethics graphicThroughout the year and during the holiday season, UAB employees should be mindful that Alabama law restricts items they may receive from vendors. As a public employee with expectations of appropriate stewardship, a position may not be used to reap private gains or receive special benefits as a result of purchasing decisions. This includes personal use of promotional rebates on supplies purchased for UAB.

However, items of de minimis value — such as greeting cards, plaques or other items intended solely for presentation, promotional items commonly distributed to the general public, and items that have no resale value or value to others — are permissible under state law. The statute defines de minimis as a value of $25 or less per occasion with an aggregate of $50 or less in a calendar year from a single provider. Other amounts may be prescribed by the Ethics Commission. These statutory amounts will be adjusted every four years to allow for cost-of-living adjustments.

Before accepting a personal gift from a business partner, employees should determine whether it is allowed by state ethics law and the school or unit policy on receipt of gifts.

If it is not permissible, it should be declined and returned it to the donor, the donor market value should be paid for it, or it should be given to an appropriate charity through the UAB Development Office.

More information can be found online.