Ethics Watch: Borrowing money from a vendor

Relationships are very important in business. But when are you going too far? This month’s Ethics Watch explains why we had to terminate an employee after that person asked for – and accepted – money for personal uses from a vendor.

The situation: We received a report from a vendor – a technical consultant – that a Skanska employee had borrowed about $3,000 from them and failed to repay it.

The loan occurred almost a year prior to the report. The relationship between the employee and the vendor had deteriorated over this time and, in addition, the vendor was concerned they would not get their money back.

The outcome: Our Ethics Committee investigated this matter, and their findings confirmed the allegations. The employee claimed the money was a gift, not a loan, and that it did not have to be repaid. However, the vendor’s version of the events was more credible than the employee’s understanding of the situation. We terminated the employee for breaching our Code of Conduct.

Cases are very fact specific, which is one reason why our Ethics Committee conducts a thorough investigation on every report it receives. In this case, would it have made a difference if the money was a gift instead of a loan? Does the amount of money have a bearing on the outcome? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below, and/or discuss with your colleagues.

Have an ethics question? Either talk to your supervisor, human resources or legal representative, or an ethics and compliance officer. To report an ethics breach, contact one of those professionals, call Skanska’s confidential ethics hotline at 877-516-3385 or use the ethics hotline link on One.Skanska.

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3 Responses

  1. Does the amount make a difference? -Not to me, but technicaly we are aloud to receive “gifts”
    Gift vs loan? Again this makes no difference to me either. Neither; especially of this amount, should be taken.

  2. My understanding is that we are not to accept any gifts worth more than $200 without reporting it and getting approval.

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