Outside Employment and Activities

Outside employment or activities are generally permitted unless they are prohibited by statute or regulation, or would require the employee’s disqualification from matters central or critical to the performance of his or her official duties.

DOI regulation 5 C.F.R. § 3501.105 requires all BOR employees to seek prior written approval from a Departmental or BOR AEC before engaging in employment with a prohibited source. The Outside Employment and Activities Form is used to obtain approval from your AEC. For this purpose, the definition of prohibited source is any person, company, or organization that has business with BOR, is seeking to do business with BOR, conducts operations that are regulated by BOR, or has any interests that might be affected by the performance or nonperformance of your official duties.

Employment means any form of non-Federal business relationship involving the provision of personal services by the employee, with or without compensation. It would include the provision of personal services as an officer, director, employee, agent, attorney, consultant, contractor, general partner, trustee, teacher, or speaker. It includes writing done under an arrangement with another person for production or publication of the written product. It does not, however, include participation in the activities of a non-profit charitable, religious, professional, social, fraternal, educational, recreational, public service, or civic organization, unless the participation involves the provision of professional services or advice for compensation other than the reimbursement for actual expenses.

All outside employment or activities must take place outside official duty hours or while on authorized leave. You may not use or permit the use of your official title or position in your outside employment or activities.

Serving as an Expert Witness – 5 C.F.R. § 2635.805

You may not serve, with or without compensation, as an expert witness, in your private capacity in any proceeding before a court or agency of the United States in which the U.S. is a party or has a direct or substantial interest, without prior approval from the head of the Departmental Ethics Office [the Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO)].

If you are subpoenaed to testify as an expert witness in any such matter, you must notify your supervisor and the DAEO immediately and request approval to proceed.

If you receive DAEO approval, you must still comply with DOI and bureau work and outside activity requirements. For instance, all BOR employees must obtain prior approval to work (paid or unpaid) for a prohibited source.

Teaching, Speaking and Writing – 5 C.F.R. § 2635.807

Generally, you may not receive compensation, other than travel expenses for outside teaching, speaking, or writing that relates to your official duties.

For purposes of this regulation, a teaching, speaking, or writing activity relates to official duties if:

  • The activity is undertaken as part of your official duties;
  • The circumstances indicate that the invitation to engage in the activity was extended to you primarily because of your official position rather than your expertise on the particular subject matter;
  • The invitation to engage in the activity or the offer of compensation for the activity was extended to you by a person who has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of your official duties;
  • The information conveyed through the activity draws substantially on nonpublic information; or
  • The subject of the activity deals in significant part with:
    • A matter to which you are presently assigned or to which you have been assigned during the previous year; or
    • Any ongoing announced policy, program, or operation of BOR.

Exception for Teaching Certain Courses: Even if the subject matter relates to your official duties, you may accept compensation for teaching a course requiring multiple presentations offered as the regularly established curriculum of an accredited institution of higher education, a secondary school, an elementary school, or a program of education sponsored and funded by the Federal Government or by a state or local government. You may only receive compensation under these circumstances for outside teaching, not for teaching carried out as part of your official responsibilities. If the class involves providing services to prohibited sources, prior approval is required. It is recommended you contact your Associate Ethics Counselor to determine if you can receive compensation for speaking, teaching, and writing for outside work related to your official duties.

Reference to Official Position: If you are engaged in teaching, speaking, or writing as an outside activity, you may not use or permit the use of your official title or position except:

  • You may include your title or position as one of several biographical details when such information is given to identify you, provided that it is not given more prominence than other significant biographical details.
  • You may use your title or position in connection with an article published in a scientific or professional journal, provided that is accompanied by a disclaimer that the views expressed do not necessarily represent the views of BOR or the United States Government.
  • If you are ordinarily addressed using a general term of address such as “The Honorable,” or a rank, such as a military or ambassadorial rank, you may use that term of address or rank.

Prior Approval Requirements: Before engaging in any outside teaching, speaking, or writing for compensation, make sure that you comply with Department and bureau prior approval requirements for outside activities and employment.

Fundraising – 5 C.F.R. § 2635.808

The general rule on fundraising can be found at 5 C.F.R. § 2635.808. Unless permitted by law, regulation or special authority, BOR employees may not engage in any form of fundraising in the workplace. This includes but is not limited to, conducting raffles, lotteries, bake sales, carnivals, athletic events, etc. for charitable organizations.

In your official capacity – an employee may participate in fundraising in an official capacity only as authorized by statute, Executive Order, or regulation. When authorized to participate in fundraising in an official capacity, an employee may use his official title, position and authority.

The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) and special disaster relief solicitations approved by Office of Personnel Management are generally the only authorized solicitations of employees for charitable fundraising in the Federal workplace. The rules governing acceptable fundraising activities by Federal employees ae described in 5 C.F.R. part 950.

In your personal capacity – an employee may generally engage in fundraising in a personal capacity outside the workplace provided she or he does not:

  • Personally solicit funds or other support from a subordinate or from any person the employee knows is a prohibited source.
  • Use or permit the use of his or her official title, position, or any authority associated with his or her public office to further the fundraising effort.
  • Engage in any action that would otherwise violate the ethics laws or regulations.

Serving as an Officer or Member of a Board of Directors of an Outside Organization

Before entering into such service, all BOR employees who wish to serve on the Board of Directors or as an officer of an outside organization, in any capacity, must consult with their servicing Associate Ethics Counselor.

Prior ethics approval is required for such service in an employee’s:

  • Official capacity (as part of the employee’s official duties).
  • Personal capacity (as an outside activity) if the organization is a prohibited source (your servicing Associate Ethics Counselor will help you determine whether the organization is a prohibited source).

For additional information and support, contact your Associate Ethics Counselor.

Last Updated: 1/11/23