May a company hire the son or daughter of a government official?

Hypothetical:

The general manager of an oil and gas exploration project in a high-risk foreign jurisdiction receives a CV from a local government official.  The CV is for the official’s son who is a recent graduate of a U.S. university and is seeking an internship.  In discussing the matter internally, the general manager asks whether anyone has considered “how beneficial to us it would be to hire him.”  One response states that although the son is not the “brightest spark,” they need to hire the son for at least one year.

Key Considerations:

  • An employment opportunity, including an internship, can be something of value and give rise to anti-corruption concerns.
  • Be on the lookout for red flags around requests for job opportunities and ensure the following questions are properly addressed: is there a business need/position available; is the candidate qualified for the position; are there pending or potential business opportunities pending before the related government official; is there an expectation of a quid pro quo (e.g., the hire in exchange for business), or facts that could give rise to the suggestion of one (e.g., discussion by the business that the hire will lead to business or regulatory approval)?
  • A company should devise and follow clear and transparent policies and procedures around merit-based employee hiring.
  • A company should adequately train business and HR personnel to raise awareness of the anti-corruption risks associated with hirings.
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