Relationships that Can Create Conflicts
When our personal interests–family, friendships, financial, or social factors–compromise our judgment, decisions, or actions in the workplace, then a conflict can arise. The following are examples of situations in which a conflict can occur:
- You or your family member either work for a company, or have an ownership interest in a company, that is doing business with UCF.
- You use your position to seek employment for your relative.
- You accept gifts from companies doing business with UCF or companies that want to do business with UCF.
- You use university students to support your outside activities.
Because we are employees of a public institution, we are required to comply with the Florida Statutes Chapter 112, part III Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees. These laws are designed to prevent our engaging in activities that will create a conflict of interest or a bias in decision-making, or that will give the appearance of a conflict or bias. The requirements apply to all of us and include the following prohibited actions or conduct:
Solicitation and Acceptance of Gifts. UCF employees may not solicit or accept anything of value, such as a gift, loan, reward, promise of future employment, favor, or service that is based on an understanding that their vote, official action, or judgment will be influenced by such a gift.
Unauthorized Compensation. UCF employees, their spouses, and minor children may not accept any compensation, payment, or anything of value when they know, or should know, that it is given to influence a vote or other official action.
Misuse of Public Position. UCF employees may not use or attempt to use their official position or any property or resource that is within their trust to obtain special privilege, benefit, or exemption for themselves or others.
Disclosure or Use of Information. UCF employees (including former employees) may not disclose or use information not available to the public and obtained by the reason of their position for their personal benefit.
Doing Business with One’s Agency. UCF employees, acting in their official capacity, are prohibited from directly or indirectly purchasing, renting, or leasing any realty, goods, or services for UCF from a business entity in which the employees, their spouses, or children serve as an officer, partner, director, or proprietor, or own more than a 5% interest. Employees, acting in their private capacity, are also prohibited from renting, leasing, or selling any realty, goods, or services to UCF.
Conflicting Employment or Contractual Relationship. UCF employees may not work for or contract with a business entity or agency regulated by or doing business with UCF. UCF employees also may not work for or have a contractual arrangement that will create a continuing or frequently recurring conflict between their private interests and the performance of their public duties or that will impede the full and faithful discharge of their public duties.
Contractual Services: Prohibited Employment. UCF employees who participate in the decision making process involving a purchase request, who influence the content of any specification or procurement standard, or who render advice, investigation, or auditing regarding UCF’s contract for services, may not be employed by a person holding such a contract with UCF.
University regulation UCF-3.018 Conflict of Interest or Commitment; Outside Activity or Employment contains the prohibited actions or conduct referenced above, and the University Compliance, Ethics, and Risk office has developed training to help employees understand these complex laws. To register for the training, please log in to your my.UCF.edu account\Employee Self Service\Learning and Development and select course: CER003 Potential Conflicts – Florida Code of Ethics for Publics Officers and Employees. More information on the training is also available at http://compliance.ucf.edu/training-3/.
New Policy – Gifts and Honoraria
UCF 2-009 Gifts and Honoraria is a new university policy based on Florida Statutes Chapter 112, part III Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees, specifically with regard to soliciting and receiving gifts and honoraria. For the purposes of this article, we’d like to highlight the following section regarding gifts offered by our existing or potential vendors:
When gifts are offered directly to an employee engaged in a working relationship in her or his official capacity with a vendor, those gifts are frequently offered to create or maintain a favorable opinion of the vendor to retain or gain UCF business. The state ethics laws prohibit us as employees of a public institution from accepting these types of gifts. For that reason, even when it seems to benefit the university, gifts including meals and complimentary registrations offered by vendors to employees when there is a working relationship, regardless of the value, are not permitted and may not be accepted.
Employees are encouraged to contact University Compliance, Ethics, and Risk when there is any doubt about whether a gift is allowable.
Gifts of nominal value such as small items at vendor tables including pens or candy offered to everyone, and not targeted to UCF employees, are generally permitted (refer to exceptions in the policy).
Training on the policy is available by logging in to your my.UCF.edu account\Employee Self Service\Learning and Development and selecting course: CER002 Gifts and Honoraria. More information on this training is also available at http://compliance.ucf.edu/training-3/ and the full policy is available at http://policies.ucf.edu/.