Employees and contractors at the University are constantly exposed to the influence of others. They themselves also expose others to various types of influence. Contact with the outside world is necessary, but it is important that the process is formally correct and that the boundaries regarding outside influence are respected. This is regulated in the rules on bribery. The rules apply to both public and private sectors, but court practice indicates that the public sector faces more rigorous assessments.
What is a bribe?
The crime of bribery is committed when you as an employee, contractor or elected official, receive, request or do not turn down an undue benefit for your work performance or your assignment. This also applies if you accept a benefit for someone other than yourself. There does not have to be any causal link between the benefit and the way an employee/equivalent carries out their work. Id est the receipt of the bribe does not necessarily mean that the giver actually benefits from it.
Bribery is to give, promise or offer an undue benefit to an employee or contractor. It is also regarded as bribery to accept a request from an employee or contractor about receiving an undue benefit.
It is also a crime to receive, accept a promise of, or request an undue benefit to influence someone’s decision or action when administering public authority or public procurement. Similarly, it is an offence to give, promise or offer any undue benefits to affect someone’s decision or action when exercising public authority or performing public procurement.
What does the law state?
The provisions on bribery offences are stated in the Swedish Penal Code, Chapter 10 Section 5a–e, which you will reach by clicking here (opens in the same window) (in Swedish) on the Swedish Parliament's website. Persons found guilty of bribery can be sentenced to fines or imprisonment. Additionally, labour law implications may arise. Those who give or receive a bribe may also be liable for damages against the recipient’s employer.
What is your responsibility as a government/Lund University employee?
Government employees have a particular responsibility when it comes to bribes. Employees or contractors at Lund University should not even be suspected of being influenced by irrelevant requests or considerations in their work.
What should you do if you are offered a benefit?
- Is this a benefit and why is it offered to me?
- Is there a connection between the benefit and my work?
- What is the nature of the benefit and what is it worth?
- What influence do I have on the relationship between my employer and the person offering the benefit?
What benefits are acceptable?
- Occasional legitimate work meals of an everyday character
- Small product samples or trinkets and souvenirs
- Simple gifts on birthdays or when ill
What benefits are never acceptable?
- Monetary gifts – cash, bonds or similar
- Money loans with particularly favourable terms
- Credit collateral or incurring of debts
- Waived purchase price or credit, mortgage or interest
- Bonus arrangements for goods purchased or air travel and hotel stays, for example, if the benefit accrues to the employee and not the employer
- Use of a vehicle, boat, residence or similar for private purposes
- Entirely or partly paid for pleasure or vacation travel, even when in connection with a work-related trip
- Gift cards or other gifts for private purposes, received in connection with purchase of work-related education, conference, exhibition
What rules apply when offered benefits?
Regarding other offers of benefits, there is a grey area in which an assessment of its justifiability must always be made. The risk increases with the value of the gift. A good way for you as an employee to avoid delimitation issues is to completely avoid accepting gifts and benefits. A gift you never received, you can never regret!
Who can you as an employee ask questions about bribes?
Start by asking your line manager.
The contact person at the Legal Division is Annette Nilsson.
Remember that you always need to decide for yourself. Even if your manager or some other person “approves” a benefit, it does not guarantee that bribery can be excluded.
For legal questions related to bribes, contact:
+46 46 222 71 78
annette [dot] nilsson [at] legal [dot] lu [dot] se