Gift Giving and Receiving 

Gift Giving and Receiving

Office of Compliance

General Guidance and Policy 

  • An employee should not accept or solicit any gift, favor, or service that might reasonably appear to influence the employee in the discharge of their official duties or that the employee knows or should have known is being offered with the intent to influence their official conduct. 
  • The detailed policy regarding gifts can be found in HOP 2.5.2: Conflicts of Interest, Conflicts of Commitment, and Outside Activities.

Gifts You May Accept

You may accept a gift that is:

  • Not in consideration of any official action;
  • Unsolicited;
  • Valued less than $50, or less than $20 if from a lender (cash and gift cards are never acceptable, regardless of the amount);
  • Made outside of University official business; or
  • A governmental item (issued by a governmental entity that allows the use of property or facilities (e.g., University parking passes, tickets to athletic events on University property).

Examples of Acceptable Gifts

  • Caps
  • Beverages
  • T-Shirts
  • Pens
  • Souvenirs
  • Plaques

Examples of Unacceptable Gifts 

  • Cash
  • Any negotiable instrument, such as a check or gift card
  • Any gift (even of minimal value) given in “thanks and appreciation” for an official action
  • Gifts valued at more than $50 ($20 if from a lender)

Gifts to Other Employees

  • Gift-giving between employees is common, especially for birthdays and around the holidays. It is important to be mindful that proper ethics apply to internal gift-giving, too.
  • Internally, it is best to avoid gift-giving "up the chain of command." Such gifts can be seen as a way of currying favor or seeking favoritism. Gifts down the chain of command are acceptable. Around the holidays, "white elephant" gifts, anonymous gift cards, and other similar gifts are also acceptable, but it is still important to keep the "less than $50" rule.

Gift FAQs

Question: What if someone I deal with in an official capacity (not a University employee) offers to buy my lunch?
Answer: It’s okay as long as it’s not solicited or in consideration of any official action. The University’s ‘rule of thumb’ is a limit of no more than $50 value per person per day, or no more than $20 if from a lender.


Question: What if someone offers me tickets to a game or a show? Can I accept the tickets?
Answer: It’s okay as long as it’s not solicited or in consideration of any official action. If the value of the tickets is greater than $50, a representative of the entity/organization paying for the tickets must be present at the event (you must be their guest).