Seeking Non-Federal Employment

This website provides an overview of the ethics laws and regulations that apply when you begin seeking and negotiating for employment outside of the Federal Government. Employment is defined as any form of personal services, including performing services as an officer, director, employee, agent, attorney, consultant, contractor, general partner or trustee.

Please note that you are not prohibited from, or even discouraged by, the Federal ethics laws and regulations from seeking future employment outside the Federal Government and negotiating with potential future employers. However, in certain circumstances, contacts with potential future employers may raise conflicts of interest concerns with respect to your position and official duties in the U.S. Department of the Interior and may require you to recuse from working on certain matters. To help you understand your obligations when seeking non-federal employment, we have provided the following materials:

Materials for Public Financial Disclosure Report (OGE Form 278e) filers only:

While You Are Still Federally Employed

The "seeking employment" rules are more restrictive than most Federal employees realize. The financial interests of any entity with which you are negotiating or have an arrangement concerning future employment are deemed to be the same as your own for purposes of the criminal conflict of interest rules. There may be criminal or administrative penalties if you participate in any DOI matters that affect the financial interests of a prospective employer. Furthermore, the Office of Government Ethics interprets most forms of communication regarding prospective employment with a non-Federal source (other than requesting a job application) to be seeking employment. You must receive a written waiver or authorization before you participate in any particular matter at DOI that affects the financial interests of a prospective employer. Such waivers and authorizations are only granted in limited circumstances.

You are no longer seeking employment when either you or the prospective employer rejects the possibility of employment and all discussions regarding possible employment have terminated. You are also no longer seeking employment if two months pass after you send an unsolicited resumé or employment proposal and you receive no indication of interest. Any response to a prospective employer that defers discussions until the foreseeable future does not terminate employment discussions.

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 (STOCK Act) requires Public Financial Disclosure report (OGE Form 278e) filers to file a statement notifying their agency ethics official of any negotation for, or agreement of, future employment or compensation with a non-federal entity within three business days after commencement of the negotation or agreement.  An employee who files a notification statement also must file with the agency's ethics official a recusal statement whenever there is a conflict of interest or appearance of a conflict of interest with the entity.  

18 U.S.C. § 208 and 5 C.F.R. §§ 2635.601 through .607

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