All state employees, including employees of the University of Washington, are bound by the State Ethics in Public Service Act, RCW 42.52. This Act, commonly known as the ethics law, generally addresses conflicts of interest, improper use of state resources, compensation for outside activities, and gifts.
The law establishes a single code that applies to all state employees in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of state government. Each branch has a single board responsible for enforcing the law with respect to employees in that branch. In the executive branch, which for this purpose includes the University, that body is the Executive Ethics Board (EEB). In addition to enforcing the law, the Executive Ethics Board promulgates interpretive rules and provides advisory opinions.
The University also has its own conflict of interest policies. Some of these policies restate principles from the ethics law; others address issues of unique concern to the University, such as faculty consulting.
In addition, there are a number of state and federal laws addressing these issues in health care settings.
The UW Division of the Attorney General's Office is available to advise UW officers about how the ethics law may bear on matters under their responsibility. The UW AGO does not provide personal legal advice to University employees, and cannot act as private counsel to employees about their individual ethics law obligations. A University employee who feels in need of personal guidance with regard to ethics law issues should consult with his or her supervisor, who may then, as appropriate, consult the UW AGO on behalf of the institution.Websites of Interest: