Outside Activities, Financial Interests and Conflict of Interest
Catherine A. Longstreth, Associate Vice President Jack Heidler, Director
Members of the university community may engage in outside employment, consulting, and other similar activities in addition to their employment with the University. It is recognized that these activities may further the dissemination and use of the knowledge and expertise developed at the University and may also advance the professional competence and reputation of employees. Thus, participation in non-university activities often serves the mission of the University, in addition to benefiting the individual. Such activities and financial interests of the employees are, however, of concern to the University if they result in conflicts with the employee’s duties, responsibilities and obligations to the institution.
A&P and USPS employees may accept additional employment/activity outside of the University of Florida so long as appropriate supervisory approval is secured before accepting this employment. This requirement of approval is not meant to be intrusive, but rather it is designed to prevent conflict of interest situations from occurring.
Responsibilities of Administrators — The employee’s department chair/supervisor and/or dean/director has the responsibility for educating the employees about the University’s policy on disclosure of outside activities and employment and activities that may occur both outside or within the University (e.g., employment of relatives, amorous relationships with students or subordinates, additional employment, doing business with the University) that may be perceived as or constitute a conflict of interest and of ascertaining that the employee’s responsibilities are not being abrogated by the activity after it has been disclosed.
- The administrator is responsible for reviewing the reported activity and notifying, as soon as possible, the employee if the activity may be conducted or not. If not, then the reasons for not allowing the activity must be provided. If the activity is allowed with conditions, conditions under which the activity may be done shall be provided.
- The administrator is responsible for advising the employee that authorization by the Office of Research, Technology and Graduate Education is necessary if the activity involves waiving any rights to intellectual property or advising the employee of the requirement to contact the Division of Purchasing if this office is involved.
- The administrator is responsible for establishing and advising the employee of the charges he or she must pay if using university equipment, facilities and/or services.
- The administrator is responsible for informing the employee that the University rule, 6C1-1.011(3)(a)3.d, requires that an approved Outside Activities and Financial Interest Report form be attached to each applicable requisition to purchase from an enterprise in which an employee has material, financial or managerial interest. The applicable requisition noted in the rule applies only to situations in which an employee could have a conflict of interest in influencing purchases to be made from an enterprise in which the employee has a material interest. Further, when a requisition to purchase from an enterprise in which an employee has a material interest is prepared, the employee with the substantial interest cannot approve the requisition. The approval of the employee’s supervisor will be required when an outside interest exist regardless of those proposed purchases fall under the sole source, emergency, or special purchasing category.
- The hiring administrator is responsible for providing new faculty with the information regarding outside activities and conflict of interest in the letter of offer of employment and it is also addressed on the annual contract with a sign off requirement.
Responsibilities of Employees — Employees wishing to engage in activities outside or within the University have an obligation to assure that such activities do not infringe upon responsibilities and obligations to the University, i.e. activities which may conflict between private interests and the public interest of the University or which may otherwise interfere with the full and faithful performance of duties and responsibilities and other institutional responsibilities.
- An employee is responsible for notifying the University administration of the details of the proposed activity, normally, prior to engaging in the activity and following the applicable law and policies relating to such activities. If a faculty member has any questions about potential conflict or interference with his or her duties or obligations, the employment or activity should be discussed with the employee’s chair or immediate supervisor prior to being forwarded to the dean or director for action.
- An employee is responsible for reporting honorarium or fees in excess of the actual expenses required for attendance if the activity is a part of the faculty member’s assigned duties. Generally, such fees or honoraria cannot be accepted.
- An employee engaging in outside activities must take reasonable precautions to ensure that the outside employer or other recipient of services understands that the faculty member is engaging in the activities as an individual and not on behalf of the University. An employee may not use the university’s resources, name or address without express approval in such outside activities.
- If an employee plans to use university equipment, facilities or the services of other personnel in connection with the activity, the requests for permission must be submitted in writing to the administrator responsible for the academic unit or facility. The administrator is responsible for establishing the charges for use of the equipment, facilities or services.
Notification and Disclosure Procedures — The disclosure of outside activities, financial interest or activities which may create an appearance of a conflict are to be reported on the University’s form entitled, “Outside Activities and Financial Interests Report” which is to be reviewed by the chair or supervisor and then forwarded to the dean or director (or others) as necessary for authorization. The form may be obtained from University Printing. The form should be completed and filed at the beginning of the contractual year of employment, prior to such time as the outside activity or financial interest begins or prior to the submission of a federal grant proposal. If a material change in the information presented occurs during the contractual year, a new form must be submitted.
- The approval process for faculty and A&P employees includes their completing reporting forms which are available from a dean or director’s office the personnel satellite offices.
- USPS employees need verbal approval from their supervisors before accepting this employment. The outside employment/activity forms are required of USPS employees only when there is a question or appearance of conflict between the employee’s obligation to the university and any outside employment, departments are asked to keep documentation as to the type of outside employment/activity for all USPS employees.
- Before using university equipment, facilities, or services in connection with outside employment/activity, all employees must complete form OAA-GA-L-268/10-1-95 to secure University of Florida approval. All paperwork associated with continuing outside employment/activity must be renewed on a fiscal-year basis.
For faculty, policy questions should be directed to Dr. Catherine Longstreth, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs (392-1254) and for A&P and USPS employees to the appropriate satellite office or Employee Relations at 392-1072.