Overview: Outside Activities, Financial Interests and Conflict of Interest
David R. Colburn, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
The following is a brief overview of outside activities and conflict of interest responsibilities. For further information and all applicable forms, please refer to the guidelines available at http://rgp.ufl.edu/research/outside_activities.html
OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES, FINANCIAL INTERESTS AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Members of the University community may engage in outside employment, consulting, and other similar activities in addition to their employment with the University as long as such activities do not conflict with their duties and responsibilities to the University and are allowed under state law and University policies. 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 individuals involved. On the other hand, such activities and financial interests of the employees are of concern to the University and may be disallowed if they result in conflicts with the employee’s duties, responsibilities, and obligations to the institution. All members of the University community should be familiar with and adhere to the laws and rules concerning these activities.
Faculty, A&P, USPS, and OPS employees may accept additional employment/activities outside of the University of Florida as long as the activity is allowed under applicable law and rules and appropriate supervisory approval is secured before accepting the employment. This requirement of approval is not meant to be intrusive, but rather it is designed to identify potential and actual conflicts of interest.
Responsibilities of Employees – Employees wishing to engage in activities outside the University have an obligation to disclose and receive approval prior to engaging in these activities and to assure that such activities do not infringe upon responsibilities and obligations to the University. It is each employee’s responsibility to comply with the rules and laws concerning outside activities and financial interests.
* An employee is responsible for notifying the University administration of all relevant information concerning the proposed activity (or financial interest) prior to engaging in the activity and for following the applicable law and policies relating to such activities. If the employee has any questions about a potential conflict or interference with his or her duties or obligations, the activity (or financial interest) should be discussed with the employee’s chair or immediate supervisor prior to being forwarded to the dean or director for final action.
* An employee is responsible for reporting an honorarium or fees in excess of the actual expenses required for attendance if the activity is part of the employee’s assigned duties. Generally, such fees or honoraria cannot be accepted from non-governmental entities.
* An employee engaging in outside activities must take reasonable precautions to ensure that the outside employer or other recipient of services understands that he or she is engaging in the activities as an individual and not on behalf of the University. An employee may not use the University’s resources, including its name or addresses, without express written approval from an administrator designated by the President to approve such use.
* If an employee plans to use University equipment, facilities, or the services of other personnel in connection with the activity, the request for permission must be submitted in writing to the administrator responsible for the academic unit or facility on the Request to Use University Equipment, Facilities and Services in Conjunction with Non- University Outside Activity. The administrator is responsible for establishing the charges for use of the equipment, facilities, or services if such use is allowed. In general, the use of personnel shall be disallowed.
Responsibilities of Administrators – Deans, directors, department chairs, and other supervisors are responsible for: 1) informing and educating employees in the unit about the University’s policy on disclosure of outside activities and financial interests, and 2) ascertaining that an employee’s University responsibilities are not being abrogated by the activity after it has been disclosed. The President has delegated to the deans and directors overall responsibility for implementing the policies on outside activities and financial interests.
* The hiring administrator is responsible for providing new employees with the information regarding outside activities and conflict of interest. For faculty it should be included in the letter of offer of employment and is stated on the annual contract with a sign-off requirement.
* The dean or director and the department chair or other supervisor are responsible for reviewing the disclosure and notifying the employee whether or not the activity may be conducted. If not, the reasons for not allowing the activity must be provided. If the activity is allowed with conditions, the administrator shall state the conditions under which the activity may be pursued.
* The dean or director and the department chair or other supervisor should advise the employee that authorization by Research and Graduate Education is necessary if the activity involves waiving any rights to intellectual property.
* The department chair or other supervisor 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 department chair or other supervisor assures that such use is appropriate.
* The department chair or other supervisor is responsible for informing the employee that the University requires that an approved Disclosure of Outside Activities and Financial Interests form be attached to each applicable Requisition to Purchase from an enterprise in which an employee has material financial or managerial interest. If there is a requisition prepared to purchase from an enterprise in which an employee has a material interest, the employee with the interest cannot approve the requisition. If the purchase is allowed under state law, the approval of the employee’s supervisor will be required when an outside interest exists regardless of whether the proposed purchases fall under the sole source, emergency, or special purchasing categories.
* Deans and directors are responsible for the distribution of all completed Disclosure of Outside Activities and Financial Interests forms.
Notification and Disclosure Procedures – The disclosure of outside activities and financial interests are to be reported on the University’s form titled Disclosure of Outside Activities and Financial Interests, which is to be reviewed by the chair or supervisor and then forwarded to the dean or director as necessary for authorization. This form should be completed and filed prior to such time as the outside activity or financial interest begins and at the beginning of each contractual year of employment. If a material change in the information presented occurs during the contractual year, a new form must be submitted.
* The approval process for faculty (including OPS faculty) and A&P employees begins with their completion of the disclosure forms.
* USPS and other OPS employees need verbal approval from their supervisors before accepting outside employment. The outside activity forms are required of USPS employees only if the activities or financial interests concern an entity which does business with the university, the employee wishes to be a candidate for public office, or the disclosure is required pursuant to federal grant requirements. As to any activities and financial interests of USPS and non-faculty OPS employees, departments should keep documentation as to the disclosures of the outside activities and their allowance or disallowance.
* Before using University equipment, facilities, or services in connection with outside employment/activity, an employee must complete the Request to Use University Equipment, Facilities and Services in Conjunction with Non- University Outside Activity form and secure all required approvals.
* All paperwork associated with continuing outside employment/activity must be renewed on a fiscal-year basis.
Federal Grant Requirements – Federal regulations require reporting of certain outside activities and financial interests by faculty members and other employees when engaged in certain federally-sponsored projects. For further information, please refer to Federal Reporting Requirements relating to Sponsored Projects in the “University of Florida Guidelines, Policies, and Procedures on Conflict of Interest.”
ADDITIONAL STATE COMPENSATION
An employee who wishes to engage in additional or outside employment by the University or another agency of the State of Florida, including another institution in the State University System, must submit a Request for Approval of Additional State Compensation to the appropriate administrative officials and obtain approval prior to engaging in such activity. This form also must be completed and approved when combined employment exceeds 1.0 FTE or when an employee receives payment from “salaries” and “OPS” funds simultaneously. No Disclosure of Outside Activities and Financial Interests need be filed for the activity as the completion of the Request for Approval of Additional State Compensation form fulfills the employee’s obligation to report. An exception to this procedure is employment by the University Press of Florida (UPF). Approval of UPF employment is granted by the President or the President’s designee, and such approval, which is submitted by the UPF to the Office of Academic Affairs, fulfills the employee’s obligation to report such activity.
For faculty, policy questions should be directed to Academic Personnel at 392-1251. For A&P, USPS & non-faculty OPS employees, questions should be directed to any University Personnel Services satellite office. Questions regarding Extra State Compensation may be directed to Classification and Compensation at 392-1213.