University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Administrative Policy Statement

Outside Consulting Activities and Part-Time Employment by Professional or Classified Staff Employees

(Approved by the Executive Vice President by authority of Administrative Order No. 9)

1.  Policy Regarding University Employee Obligations and Official Duties

University of Washington employees are responsible for meeting the job expectations and work effort requirements of their positions. At the same time, the University recognizes that individuals, the University, and the state benefit from staff involvements in and support of outside organizations and industry. Staff may engage in outside consulting work or part-time employment provided that such outside employment is not to the detriment of their University obligations and job performance or in conflict with the proper discharge of the employee's official duties.

2.  Ethics in Public Service Act

RCW 42.52.120, part of the Washington State Ethics in Public Service Act ("Ethics Act"), permits a University employee to engage in outside consulting or part-time employment only if the consulting work or part-time employment is:

  • Bona fide and actually performed;

  • Neither within the normal course of the employee's official University duties nor under the employee's supervision;

  • Does not involve assisting others in transactions with the University in which the employee has participated or which has been under his or her official responsibility;

  • Not for an organization or person from whom the law prohibits receipt of gifts;

  • Not under a grant or contract created by the University employee; and

  • Does not result in the unauthorized disclosure of confidential information or unapproved transfer of University intellectual property.

Consistent with the purposes of the 2005 Ethics Act Amendment, the University may approve requests by University Research Employees to engage in outside professional work even if one or more of the foregoing conditions are not met, provided that the procedures and other requirements of this policy are followed and the University is satisfied that the outside professional work will be consistent with relevant University and public interests. "University Research Employee" has the meaning stated in RCW 42.52.010(21). For purposes of this policy, University Research Employee shall include:

  • Research scientists and other University employees, including professional and classified staff, who have been specifically assigned to sponsored research projects and whose work contributes to the design or conduct of research or to the analysis or reporting of results; and

  • Other professional staff members who have been granted the right to apply for sponsored research projects by the Provost or by their respective schools, colleges, or campuses.

Furthermore, if the employee is consulting for another state agency, the employee must in most cases obtain prior approval from the state's Executive Ethics Board. The employee should consult the rules of the Executive Ethics Board in WAC 292-110-060.

3.  Advance Review and Approval

A.   Requirements

While the state of Washington Ethics in Public Service Act permits outside work, University professional and classified staff must secure advance review and approval of outside work whether or not for compensation whenever such activities stem from, could conflict with, or relate to the individual's official duties or status as a University employee. The requirement for advance review and approval is designed to protect both the University's and the individual's interests in minimizing employee involvement in activities that conflict with or appear to conflict with the state ethics laws and related University policies.

Any consulting or part-time employment should ordinarily be outside the employee's regular work schedule. When this is not possible, the employee's request for vacation or unpaid leave time for such activities must also be approved in advance by the employee's supervisor.

B.   Requesting Advance Review and Approval

Outside consulting or part-time employment covered by the review requirements identified in Section 3.a must be approved in advance. The employee must secure advance approval for each consulting engagement that meets the criteria for review. The immediate supervisor will recommend approval/disapproval of the request and forward it to the head of the concerned academic or administrative unit for final review and determination. The review by the supervisor and department head should be as timely as possible and should focus on the request's conformance to the criteria listed in Sections 2 and this section. Use the Request for Approval of Outside Professional Work for Compensation—Professional and Classified Staff form for requesting such approval.

4.  Intellectual Property

Intellectual property must be disclosed to the University pursuant to the "Patent, Invention, and Copyright Policy" (Executive Order No. 36) and "Patents and Inventions" (Administrative Policy Statement 59.4). Intellectual property in which the University may have an ownership interest may not be transferred by University employees while engaged in outside consulting or part-time employment. Clauses in consulting agreements (including but not limited to, clauses on confidentiality and ownership/transfer of intellectual property) must be consistent with the policy of the University and with University commitments under sponsored research agreements. Accordingly, consulting agreements should contain the company's acknowledgement that to the extent the consulting agreement is inconsistent with any of the University employee's obligations to the University, the employee's obligations to the University shall prevail.

5.  Independent Legal Status of Outside Consulting or Part-Time Employment

Employees who engage in outside consulting or part-time employment must clearly identify that they are doing so as independent professionals and not as representatives of the University of Washington and that such undertakings are outside of their University responsibilities. The Washington State Ethics in Public Service Act and the University's policy on "Employee Responsibilities and Employee Conflict of Interest" (Executive Order No. 32) preclude state employees from using their University position for private gain. The Attorney General of the state of Washington will not represent University employees in claims stemming from outside part-time employment or consulting work, and the state of Washington cannot indemnify University employees from liability related to their outside employment or consulting work.

6.  Use of University Facilities and Equipment

In the context of outside consulting engagements, University facilities, employees, materials, or equipment may not be used unless permitted by the University's policy on Personal Use of University Facilities, Computers, and Equipment by University Employees, Administrative Policy Statement 47.2.

7.  Additional Information

Contact the appropriate Human Resources Service Team Member listed on the Human Resources Service Team Assignments web page.

May 1, 2002; December 20, 2006.