So my friend referred me for a position in her company. She does not participate in interviewing or any decision making. I wonder is it legal/appropriate to pay for a meal for her? Does it matter whether this happens before/after an offer is made? Or how much the meal is cost? Is there some legal disclaimer that needs to be done? (P.S. I live in Canada.)
It is called reciprocity. She did you a favour to help you out and you can thank her for the effort. I would personally do a nice dinner if it gets you the job otherwise you can get her a thank you gift. (woman like bottles of wines too).
In general when people help you out return the favour or let them know you are happy.
Because you ask about legality where I worked you should only tell compliance if the expense was above 250 EUR. And it had to involve a client. Since both of you are not in a "Commercial relation" no need to tell HR or compliance. If in doubt, invite her over to your place and prepare dinner :)
I wonder is it legal/appropriate to pay for a meal for her? Does it matter whether this happens before/after an offer is made? Or how much the meal is cost? Is there some legal disclaimer that needs to be done?
It's perfectly appropriate. I've done the same several times.
I would wait a bit. If you get the job, then a nicer reward (a fancier restaurant?) may be in order. Even if you don't get the job, it's a very nice gesture on your part.
As far as legalities, consult your local laws. In my part of the world there are no laws preventing this. I know of none anywhere.
I'll respectfully disagree with Joe Strazzere.
I would not wait, do it now before you know the outcome.
The dinner is to thank her for helping with the referral, and she's done her part.
You're thanking her regardless of the outcome.
If she were the hiring manager or on the interview team, then it might look sketchy - but what you've described is fine from my perspective.
I'm tending towards Kilisi's answer, but if you wanted to make the point that it was a "thank you" for a specific thing, it would be to thank her for the referral (ie. something she's already done).
Since it sounds like there's nothing further she can do to influence the people who make recruitment decisions, no reasonable person is likely to see it as bribery.