Ethics Reminder During COVID-19 Pandemic

Last edited 2/15/2023
Interior Team,
In this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, we have more professional and personal demands on our time than ever before. To further complicate matters, many of us find ourselves working in a changed environment, whether working from home with new “coworkers” (i.e., family members similarly displaced from their employer or school), working from deserted offices, or working under other arrangements. During these circumstances, I want to provide a helpful reminder of the ethics rules. The guidance below will help employees avoid inadvertent ethics related problems as we all work to advance the mission of the Department of the Interior (Department).
Please keep in mind that, although we may be working from a more relaxed space at home, the rules and policies that govern official (and some personal) activities as Department personnel continue. Here are a few rules to keep in mind:
1. Official Time and Department Resources: Remember the basic principle of official time for official purposes. This means that while on the clock employees may not engage in outside activities such as other employment or volunteering for a non-profit. It means employees may not engage in personal activities such as managing a stock portfolio or other business activities. Another basic principle while teleworking is that employees may only use Government resources for proper purposes. This means that Government computers should only be used by all employees for official Government business.
2. Partisan Political Activities: As discussed in my recent memorandum.

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