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Ask the Code

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ID: 250

ListCategory: Ask the code

Title: Gift Cards from Citizens

Description: <div class="ExternalClassB0AF6F53885C4BF798F54A7322C1978B">I collect recycling and have had the same route for several years. One of my long-time customers has a tradition of giving our crew $5 Tim Horton’s cards around Christmas, which we always appreciate. Can we accept these gifts? Do I have to tell her to stop this practice?​</div>

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Gift Cards from Citizens

I collect recycling and have had the same route for several years. One of my long-time customers has a tradition of giving our crew $5 Tim Horton’s cards around Christmas, which we always appreciate. Can we accept these gifts? Do I have to tell her to stop this practice?​

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Business Lunch

I have a business associate that I meet a few times of year over lunch. When the bill comes, they often reach for it first and insist on paying. Can I still have these lunches and can I let them pay for them?

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City Discounts

I know The City has a contract with a hardware supplier who provides materials to us at a discounted rate. I went to the same retailer over the weekend to buy tools for my own home renovations and they recognized me and offered the ‘City discount.’ I didn’t ask for this, so is it okay?

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Gift Cards From Co-workers

I received a $10 gift card to Starbucks from my supervisor to say thanks for some work I did on a project. That’s okay, right?

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Gift Baskets

A consultant we use sent me a gift basket of treats at the end of our project and it was delivered to my desk. I suspect the value is over $25 though I don’t know for sure. What should I do?

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Stampede Party

Stampede is approaching and I’ve been invited to several parties by organizations that we work with at The City. There is often a cost involved, but they have offered to comp me tickets. Can I accept this and go?

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Love Connection

I wasn’t in a personal relationship with anyone from our team when I started at The City but now I am. Do we need to disclose our connection to my leader?

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​​​​​​​Dear Code,

I collect recycling and have had the same route for several years. One of my long-time customers has a tradition of giving our crew $5 Tim Horton’s cards around Christmas, which we always appreciate. Can we accept these gifts? Do I have to tell her to stop this practice? 
                    - Grateful for Caffeine

Dear Grateful for Caffeine,
The revised Conflict of Interest says that you can no longer accept any gift that has a cash equivalent so that includes gift cards of any amount. You can still accept gifts that have a nominal value – under $25 such as a box of cookies, chocolate or candy canes.

If this amazing citizen tries to give you a gift card this year, you should thank them and politely indicate that you can no longer accept them based on a revision to our Conflict of Interest Policy.

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​​​​​​​​​​​Dear Code,

I have a business associate that I meet a few times of year over lunch. When the bill comes, they often reach for it first and insist on paying. Can I still have these lunches and can I let them pay for them?
                    - Bill Wrestler

Dear Mr. Wrestler,
The revisions to our Conflict of Interest Policy will not affect your lunch meetings, however, it does mean you’ll have to wrestle a bit harder to pay your portion of the bill. We want to ensure that it doesn’t appear that you, or your colleagues, are being influenced in any way by external contacts. This means that as long as you cover the cost of your own meal, you are complying with the Policy. If it’s a business lunch, you can expense your portion of it and be reimbursed.

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​​Dear Code,

I know The City has a contract with a hardware supplier who provides materials to us at a discounted rate. I went to the same retailer over the weekend to buy tools for my own home renovations and they recognized me and offered the ‘City discount.’ I didn’t ask for this, so is it okay? 
                    - Recognizable Handyman

Dear Recognizable,
Thank you for your question as this may be a common situation – especially for those who wear clothing with City identifiers or who interact with our vendors often. The answer is no, you cannot accept the City discount since this purchase is for your personal use. City employees cannot be perceived to have special privileges because of their role here.

You can say thanks so much for the offer but I need to pay the normal rate based on our Conflict of Interest Policy. If they refuse to treat you like other citizens, you must decline and possibly take your business to a different retailer.

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​​​​​​​​​​​​Dear Code,

I received a $10 gift card to Starbucks from my supervisor to say thanks for some work I did on a project. That’s okay, right? 
                    - Coffee Bonus

Dear Coffee Bonus,
Way to go! Yes, the revisions to the Conflict of Interest Policy do not impact gift cards given from one City employee to another. Time for a coffee!

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​​​​​​​​​Dear Code,

A consultant we use sent me a gift basket of treats at the end of our project and it was delivered to my desk. I suspect the value is over $25 though I don’t know for sure. What should I do? 
                    - Baffled by Basket

Dear Baffled,
In this case, let your manager know that this gift was received. Assuming it cannot be returned, one option would be to place the arrangement in a public place where you and your colleagues could enjoy it. When you call the consultant to thank them for their generous gift, kindly tell them that, due to a change to The City’s Conflict of Interest Policy, you cannot accept this kind of gift in the future.

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​​​​​ Dear Code,

Stampede is approaching and I’ve been invited to several parties by organizations that we work with at The City. There is often a cost involved, but they have offered to comp me tickets. Can I accept this and go? 
                    - Stampede Socializer

Dear Socializer,
The answer is “it depends.” If the organization hosting has invited only City employees to attend the party it’s throwing, then no one from The City can attend. If the organization hosting the party has invited multiple clients it may be acceptable to go but don’t take a chance. Approach your manager to discuss the circumstances and ensure they are okay with you attending. Happy Stampeding!

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​​​​Dear Code,

I wasn’t in a personal relationship with anyone from our team when I started at The City but now I am. Do we need to disclose our connection to my leader? 
                    ​- Lucky in Love

Dear Lucky,
The answer to this is “it depends.” Are either of you are in a position to influence the other’s career? Do you supervise your significant other or vice versa? Would either of you have opportunity to influence compensation, promotions or the distribution of work? If so, you must disclose this to your leader(s) and step away from these types of decisions. If not, you are okay to continue as is. Should your position within your work area change so that you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions you must disclose your relationship to your leader.  ​

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