Ruling on an employee taking a gift such as promotional item from another company
Praise be to Allaah.
We put the following question to Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al’-Uthaymeen
Some companies give away promotional gifts to other companies with whom they have connections, and some of these promotional gifts may be of high value, such as watches, and some may be of lesser value, such as ordinary pens, diaries, calendars or t-shirts with the company logo. What is the ruling on such things?
Let us suppose, for example, that a company is trying to market a specific product, such as lumber etc., so they go to other construction companies who buy lumber and give their employees items promoting the lumber company, so that this company will gain a reputation and be known to the employees of the construction company. These gifts may vary in value. Is it permissible for the employees of the construction company to accept these gifts?
He answered, may Allaah preserve him:
“I am afraid that this may involve toying with the market or that it may lead to treachery on the part of those who take these gifts. I think that it is not allowed.”
Could we say that if these gifts that the company gives out as advertising are given to the general public, such as calendars, for example, then they may take them, but if they are given exclusively to these employees or they are of high values, they should not take them?
The Shaykh said:
“This is our fatwa, but there is still the fear that this is done in order to toy with the market, for example, if there is a company working with you and they give you a gift like those they give to the general public, then this is OK, because it does not affect anyone. But if the gift is given in an attempt to win customers and make it harder for competitors, then this gift should not be accepted. And Allaah knows best.”