Standards of Conduct
If you're not positive that what you're about to do is appropriate, ask your ethics official. Contact the DoDEA Office of General Counsel. One mission of that Office is to advise DoDEA personnel and assist them to accomplish their goals without violating the standards of conduct.
In fact, disciplinary action for violating the standards of conduct will not be taken against you if you act in good faith reliance upon the advice of your ethics official, if you have made full disclosure of the relevant circumstances.
The DoDEA Employees' Guide to the Standards of Conduct provides a general summary of the rules. It does not include every exception, every requirement, or all the factors that must be considered in making certain decisions. If you are unsure of your actions, call your ethics official before you act.
General Principals of Public Service
- Place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws, and ethical principles above private gain
- Act impartially to all groups, persons, and organizations
- Give an honest effort in the performance of your duties Protect and conserve Federal property
- Disclose waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption to appropriate authorities
- Fulfill in good faith your obligations as a citizen, and pay your Federal, State, and local taxes
- Comply with all laws providing equal opportunity to all persons, regardless of their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or handicap
- Don't use nonpublic information to benefit yourself or anyone else
- Don't solicit or accept gifts from persons or parties that do business with or seek official action from DoD (unless permitted by an exception)
- Don't make unauthorized commitments or promises that bind the Government
- Don't use Federal property for unauthorized purposes
- Don't take jobs or hold financial interests that conflict with your Government responsibilities
- Don't take actions that give the appearance that they are illegal or unethical
Remember: Violating ethics principles may result in disciplinary or corrective action, including criminal prosecution. Protect yourself from disciplinary action by seeking the advice of your agency ethics official.
Gifts from Outside Sources
What is a Prohibited Source?
What's a Gift?
What's not a Gift?
Gifts That you may Keep
Gifts Between Employees
Exceptions to the Rule
Conflicting Financial Interests
Bribery and Graft
Representation of Others in Matters Affecting Government
Rule: You generally may not represent anyone outside the Government before a Federal agency or court, or share in any compensation for such representations made by anybody else, if the Government is involved in the particular matter.
- There are limited exceptions. There are special exceptions for consultants. Check with your ethics official.
Supplementation of Federal Salary
Rule: You may not accept compensation from any source except the Government for your services as a Government employee. This rule does not apply, if: you are a "special Government employee" - i.e., a consultant, or you serve without compensation, or your supplementation is a result of a public service award.
Impartiality in Performing Official Duties
Misuse of Position
Use of Government Resources
Rule: Use Federal Government equipment and property, including communications systems, only for official purposes or authorized purposes as approved by your supervisor.
Rule: Use official time in an honest effort to perform official duties, and don't ask subordinates to perform tasks outside their official duties.
Teaching Speaking and Writing
Most Federal civilian employees may actively participate in political campaigns and other partisan activities. However, they may not engage in such activities on duty, or in any Federal workplace, vehicle, or while in uniform.
While the Hatch Act loosened restrictions on political activity for most Federal civilian employees, Federal laws still limit the political activities of military personnel, law enforcement, national security, and career SES employees. Moreover, by policy within DoD, employees appointed by the President and employees appointed by the Secretary to non-career SES positions may not engage in any activity that could be interpreted as associating DoD with any partisan cause or issue.
If you plan to engage in any partisan political activity, you should consult your ethics counselor.
Rule: Always consult your ethics counselor before separating from the Government. He or she will advise you on the restrictions that will apply to your activities in the private sector in light of your specific duties and level of responsibility as a Government employee.
Official Travel Benefits
Sources of Information
If you have further questions, consult a DoDEA ethics counselor in the Office of the General Counsel. Additional information is available in:
- Standards of Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch
The U.S. Office of Government Ethics has developed a comprehensive set of regulations to assist Federal employees with their ethics questions. This is a primary source of guidance on ethics and standards of conduct.
- DoD 5500.7-R, the Joint Ethics Regulation ("JER")
The JER contains supplemental regulations for DoD employees.