Secret Santa

We looked earlier in the week at the limits on gift giving and receiving allowed under the Bribery Act.  Today we will look at another increasingly common form of gift giving, Secret Santa.

Many offices now have a Secret Santa where staff buy their colleagues small gifts anonymously.  A brief google search of ‘Secret Santa presents for colleagues’ came up with ideas from novelty chocolate items resembling body parts, skimpy lingerie and chill pill sweets.  Given the anonymous nature of the game it may be tempting to purchase a gift of this nature.  Although such gifts may be taken in good humour, they may well offend the recipient.  If they do, it is important to take any complaints seriously and deal with them under your harassment and disciplinary procedures.  Failure to do so could leave you with a discrimination claim to deal with in the New Year.
In order to avoid such problems, before Santa distributes his presents, employees should be told the rules of the game. No gifts of a sexual, religious, obscene or offensive nature should be allowed.  Employees should be encouraged to discuss their present idea with a manager or HR if they are unsure.

Petra Venton