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Ethics
Personal Use of State Resources & Conflict of Interest

UNDERSTAND

It is important that managers and supervisors understand the rules governing personal use of University resources, financial conflict of interest, and the protection of confidential information. University employees are responsible for being familiar with and understanding the policies that are applicable to their employment.

Personal use of University Resources, Facilities and Equipment

In general, University employees may not use state resources in any form for personal benefit or gain, or for the benefit or gain of any other individuals or outside organizations. Administrative Policy Statement (APS) 47.2 details the permissible and impermissible uses of University resources, facilities, and equipment.

Outside Work

Faculty, librarians, academic personnel, and professional staff may engage in outside work subject to the limits and requirements specified in:

Classified staff may engage in outside work, provided the activity does not intrude into normal work hours and does not otherwise represent a prohibited conflict of interest subject to the provisions of Administrative Policy Statement 47.3 which requires completion of the Request for Approval of Outside Professional Work for Compensation—Professional and Classified Staff.

Employee Conflict of Interest

The University of Washington Executive Order 32 sets forth restrictions that prohibit an employee's improper participation in a variety of business transactions in which the employee may have an interest or be in a position to assist others. This chapter also defines conditions under which the University may employ more than one member of a household.

In general, Washington law states that no employee shall participate in a transaction involving the state in which, to his or her knowledge, any of the following persons have a direct and substantial economic interest: his or her spouse or child, or any other person in whom he or she has a substantial economic interest (RCW 42.18.160).

Transactions involving a direct and substantial economic interest include, but may not be limited to: appointment, termination of appointment, promotion, demotion, or approval of salary increase or decrease of persons employed at the University. Contact your unit's Human Resources Consultant (HRC) if there are questions.

Penalties and Enforcement

Employees who violate published University policies regarding the personal use of University facilities and equipment, or policies regarding outside work and conflict of interest, are subject to appropriate disciplinary or corrective action, including dismissal.

The state Executive Ethics Board has the authority to investigate allegations of improper use of state resources, and it is charged with enforcing laws and rules prohibiting state workers from improperly using state resources. The Executive Ethics Board's determinations and actions are independent of any corrective action the University takes.

ACT

If you have a question about possible conflict of interest or proper use of University resources, talk to your department’s HRC.

The UW New Employee Orientation informs employees of their obligations with respect to conflict of interest and improper use of state resources. Make sure that the employees in your unit understand the kind of behavior that is permissible and that which is not.

Report Misuse of University Resources

APS 47.10 defines what constitutes misappropriation or misuse of University assets (i.e. equipment, including improper personal use of state resources, supplies, cash). Follow the reporting requirements established by APS 47.10 if you believe that individuals may be responsible for the misuse of University assets.

EXPLORE