Don’t Confuse Kindness with Bribery – A random act of kindness day

The Random Acts of Kindness Day is just around the corner!

On the 17th February we will all be celebrating being kind to one another, but what we don’t want to do is fall into a trap.

In the UK alone, bribery in the workplace is a serious problem. 71% of citizens in the UK believe corruption to be a major issue, therefore the need to bring awareness to the differences between kindness and bribery is needed dearly since there is a very fine line between a gift and a bribe.

So what is Bribery?

Bribery is a gesture that helps sway a businesses decision or action of others and will normally involve something of value. There are many forms of bribery that can be used in a business and some examples that constitutes as bribery are:


  • To secure/keep a contract; if you are given something just to close a deal it means you are being manipulated.
  • To secure an order; it might look like ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ but it isn’t. Although you got that new laptop and it looks like you are doing each other a favour, the other person has more to gain or more to lose if they resort to bribery.
  • To gain an advantage; you have to look at the persons motive and what they have asked you to do and will it put them in an advantageous position, so is that pay cheque worth it? You might have just sold yourself or your company down the river.
  • Bribery of a national, local or foreign official to secure contract.
  • To turn a blind eye to an issue like health and safety, poor performance, substitution of materials or false labour chargers; if you have to turn a blind eye to something, then it is clearly wrong. Would you turn a blind eye to a mugger if they offered you a holiday?
  • Falsify an inspection report or to gain a certificate; you could be putting people at risk, all for extra pay!


These are examples of the types of bribes, and as you can see a bribe can come in many forms and for many reasons. By knowing what looks like a bribe and why they are bribing you, will help you spot it and stop it.

Unfortunately even though you know what a bribe looks like, the problem we have with bribery within the workplace is that it is a very grey area, and who’s to say what’s being kind and what’s malicious?

A bribe can be of any value, for example if an employer offers to buy you a coffee but only if you do something for them in return, that is a bribe even though a coffee is not of great value.

Since bribery is such a major problem, The Bribery Act 2010 was introduced to enhance and emend UK law on bribery including foreign bribery, in order to better address the requirements of the 1997 OECD anti-bribery Convention. Internationally it is among the most rigid legislations, introducing a tough liability offence for companies and partnerships who fail to prevent bribery.

The Bribery Act 2010 covers four prime offences:


  • Two general offences covering the offering promising or giving of an advantage, and requesting, agreeing to receive or accepting of an advantage;
  • A discrete offence of bribery of a foreign public official.
  • A new offence of failure by a commercial organisation to prevent a bribe being paid to obtain or retain business or a business advantage (should an offence be committed it will be a defence that the organisation has adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery).


In the UK bribery is illegal and you will be punished if caught. Offenders can face up to ten years in prison, a fine, along with the possibility of the company facing an unlimited fine likewise.

Nobody wants to go to prison or face an unlimited fine so it is best that you are prepared and that you know the difference between kindness and a bribe. Looking back at what we have discussed, we have established what bribery is, it is a gift or gesture that has strings attached, but what is a simple act of kindness?

Well to answer your question, you look beautiful… see that is being kind!

Although that is an obvious form of courtesy, something that may be a little harder to decipher is someone giving you a gift, lending/giving you money or doing something for you. When something is of high value it can be difficult to decide if it is out of affection but it is safe to say you can still go for that expensive meal that your colleague is going to pay for without worries!

Don’t mistake that nice watch that was given to you to secure a contract for the lovely bunch of flowers on your desk.

Don’t be bought… Don’t mistake bribery for kindness.

Our act of kindness in the spirit of today is offering you a free module about bribery to help you understand the risk it presents, this a prime example of a gift!

For a limited time only, select here to claim free access to our Anti-Bribery awareness training module.

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