Gifts from Suppliers: a Timely Reminder

Wrapped present in hands, "No Gifts from Suppliers?"

No Gifts from Suppliers?

It’s that time of year again. You arrive at work and discover that a supplier has given a gift to you or your department. 

What a nice gesture, right? 

Well…it’s complicated, because (unfortunately) you aren’t allowed to keep it. This is because state workers cannot accept gifts from suppliers!

During the holidays and throughout the year, suppliers may want to show their appreciation by offering gifts. But, as state workers, we may not accept them. 

It’s not rude, it’s just the law 

According to a recent State Bureau of Procurement News release:

“It is our duty to avoid the perception of impropriety and adhere to the personnel section on ethics for employees (Chapter ER-MRS 24 and  
s. 19.45(2), Wis. Stats.

Be ready with a quick response

Many employees all around campus ask, “What if a supplier shows up with a gift?”

The State Bureau of Procurement provides advice for dealing with this and advises the following:

“If a supplier attempts to offer you a gift, simply refuse it and explain the need for state workers to remain independent.” 

A gift was left behind…what can you do about it?

The State Bureau advises that you take action after a supplier mails or brings a gift to the workplace and leaves without talking to anyone. You can do any of the following:

  • Notify the supplier to retrieve the gift immediately.
  • Redirect the gift anonymously as appropriate to a local food pantry, homeless shelter or other charitable organization.
  • Donate anonymously — flowers can go to assisted living centers, hospitals or other charitable organizations.
  • Discard the gift.


Thank you for your cooperation, and for making yourself aware of what you can do in situations like this. Contact FP&M Purchasing Office at with any questions.

Have a safe and happy holiday season.