A number of years ago I was working for a large international retailer (UK based) as a lowly cashier, I was in regular contact with the part-time staff, who were mostly older ladies.
When one of them was about to turn 65 we decided to start a staff collection in order to organise a birthday bash for her among the staff, mostly organised by another of the long time staff. There was no coercion involved and everybody was willing to chip in €5 (no more was asked for or accepted). Low-hours and school-age staff were also not asked to contribute.
Unfortunately the shop manager (an up-tight little so-and-so) got word of the collection and party. The next day word came down to the floor that there couldn't be a collection and that if he heard there'd been a party that heads would roll. Seemingly we were breaching company policy by running the collection, and by organising a staff party (all this was bs naturally).
By this stage we had a nice amount of money collected (about €1,000 IIRC) and we did not know what to do with it. Nobody wanted it back, but we were under scrutiny. So it was decided that we'd get something nice for the birthday girl and it would be presented to her at her family's birthday party, nicely circumventing the manager.