Personal Relationships with Suppliers
Conflict of Interest

We encourage associates not to have social or other relationships with suppliers if the relationships would give the perception that a business influence is being exerted. We believe in basing our relationships with suppliers on efficient, fair and lawful business practices. The selection of suppliers must be made on the basis of objective criteria. We should treat our suppliers with respect, fairness and honesty.

Personal Relationships with Suppliers

There’s a contracting company I do business with as part of my position with Walmart. They have asked me if I know of an engineer they could hire. My son is qualified and would like to work for this company. May I refer my son for the position?

No. Even though the contracting company sought your recommendation, it may appear that you are using your position with Walmart to get your son a job. That would be a conflict of interest that could compromise your reputation as a representative of Walmart.

My neighbor is one of my suppliers. He invited my family and me to a neighborhood party. Would it be a conflict of interest if we went to the party?

It is not a violation to attend as long as the party is open to the neighborhood and you’re invited because you’re a neighbor, not because of your position with Walmart. Remember to ask yourself: if another supplier or other associates knew of this situation, would it appear you are giving preferential treatment to your neighbor as a supplier, or that the supplier is trying to influence you?

I’m interested in dating a Walmart supplier who is not my supplier. Would it be a conflict of interest to date the supplier?

As long as the supplier does not call on you and you have no influence over the supplier’s business relationship with Walmart, there is not a conflict of interest. If the supplier does begin calling on your area, you should disclose the relationship to your management team and work with them to resolve the conflict.

Does Walmart have any guidelines regarding having a lunch meeting with a supplier or potential supplier?

If there is a legitimate business need for meeting with the supplier or potential supplier, you may join them for lunch or dinner meetings as long you pay for your food and beverages for yourself. It’s important to remember that you should treat each supplier fairly. If you meet one supplier or potential supplier for lunch or dinner, then you would also need to be open to meeting other suppliers or potential suppliers for lunch or dinner.

My friend works for a supplier who’s sponsoring a charity golf tournament. The supplier has an open spot on one of its teams and my friend asked me to fill in. I have no interaction with the supplier in my role at Walmart. Would it be okay for me to play on the supplier’s team? Can the supplier pay my entry fee?

As a Walmart associate, your business relationships with your suppliers should be based on objective and fair criteria. In order to remain objective and fair, it is a best practice to avoid social interactions with your suppliers. Since no business relationship exists in this situation, there is no direct conflict with you playing on the supplier’s team and your friend’s company may pay for your fees as long as this is truly a personal relationship.

I work in Financial Services, and I received a birthday gift from a close personal friend who happens to be employed by a Walmart toy supplier. Can I accept the gift?

In your role, you have no direct or indirect influence over the business relationship with the supplier, so it would not be a violation to accept the gift from your friend.

Want to know more?
Explore our Statement of Ethics
Start