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Department Publications

Proposed Administrative Regulation on Gratuities...
Can I Accept This Gift?

As a Maricopa employee, you may have occasional dealings with a vendor representative. If the representative wants to take you to lunch, can she pick up the tab?

In December, this vendor representative sends to you and your colleagues a basket of fresh fruit. You could return the fruit to the well-intentioned donor, but by that time the fruit might spoil. What is to be done with this gift?

Through the course of your employment at a Maricopa college, you have become something of a recognized expert in your field. When you are invited to speak at a local conference during a time when you would otherwise be on the job, can you accept the honorarium the event sponsor offers you?

Maricopa has lacked clear policy direction to address these and similar situations. The newly-proposed administrative regulation on gifts, gratuities and unrelated compensation is intended to cure that.

The proposed regulation provides instruction in handling potential benefits “from vendors and others that are either doing business with or that seek to do business with the officers, employees and others who serve as agents on behalf of” MCCCD.
It covers potentially thorny questions in the areas of travel; employee discounts; complimentary textbooks; meals, beverages and entertainment; honoraria and similar consideration; and gifts.

Among the more significant (and not uncommon) situations addressed:

  • Under the proposed regulation, an employee would be precluded from allowing a meal or beverage to be purchased for the employee or employee’s family member “by a person whom the employee knows or has reason to know is employed by or in any way associated with a current or prospective vendor or contractor with MCCCD or a member institution.”

A meal out with such a person is not outlawed; the employee simply must pay his or her own way.

  • The regulation, if adopted, would prohibit an employee from accepting a gift “of greater than nominal value that is given as payment or consideration for service provided to an entity external to MCCCD at any time while the employee is expected to be performing responsibilities within the scope of MCCCD employment.”

“Nominal value” means of a value of less than $20. Gifts of nominal value would likely include tote bags, coffee mugs, and similar items that are an inevitable feature of conferences, seminars, and other gatherings in academe.

  • Review of a “complimentary or examination copy of a textbook that may be utilized in connection with an MCCCD class or similar instructional offering” is deemed under the proposed regulation to be within the scope of that employee’s Maricopa employment.

The proposed regulation would consequently preclude the employee from accepting “any additional compensation or other consideration from any source in connection with such review or disposal of the textbook.”

Moreover, the textbook that is “received for evaluation, regardless if it is sent directly to the employee or to the employee’s department, shall be the property of MCCCD.”

These are only some of the proposed regulation’s more notable features, and a thorough review of what has been suggested is highly recommended. To view the entire proposed regulation on gifts, gratuities and unrelated compensation, please visit: www.maricopa.edu/legal/dp/inbrief/proposedgratuitiesreg.pdf.

Published in the Winter 2008 Edition of In Brief



Questions or comments?
Contact Lee Combs @ 480.731.8878

Maricopa Community Colleges
Office of General Counsel
2411 West 14th Street
Tempe, AZ 85281-6942
480.731.8877 / 480.731.8890 fax

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Page Updated 01/29/08

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