Top 5 Things New Employees Should Know

Maintaining the Public’s Trust is the top priority of the CDC Ethics office. For more information or questions contact:

CDC HRO Ethics and Compliance Activity
(Phone) 770-488-8970
(Fax) 770-488-8980
Visit Ethics and Compliance Activity Website

Please note: Some of these publications are available for download only as *.pdf files. These files require Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to be viewed. Please review the information on downloading and using Acrobat Reader software.

When in doubt, contact the Ethics Activity for specific advice

We strongly encourage employees to contact the Ethics Program Activity at (770) 488-8970 with questions about the ethics rules, including the Standards of Ethical Conduct and conflict of interest rules. You will also find detailed guidance on the website. It’s important to realize that, even though you are a good and ethical person, Government ethics is by and large a set of specific rules, and these rules may seem counter-intuitive at times. Calling the Ethics Program Activity is the surest way to comply with the rules!

Avoid conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflicts of interest

In general, a conflict of interest exists when a CDC employee has a personal financial interest (for example, owning stock in a company) affected by the outcome of a matter that he or she is officially assigned to work on. There is a wide variety of interests that may give rise to an actual or apparent conflict of interest. In most cases, an employee can avoid a conflict of interest by disclosing it and disqualifying himself from taking any official action in the matter. If disqualification is not feasible, an employee may also resolve the conflict by disposing of the financial interest (for example, selling the stock). The financial disclosure reporting system is one helpful tool in identifying and resolving conflicts of interest. If you are required to file a public (OGE-278) or confidential financial disclosure (OGE-450) report, be careful to complete the form accurately and in a timely manner. Read more about avoiding conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflicts of interest.

Supplementation of Salary

Executive branch employees may not be paid by someone other than the United States for doing their Government job. Thus, for example, a highly paid executive of a corporation upon entering Government service could not accept an offer from her former employer to make up the difference between her Government salary and the compensation she received from her former employer. Read more about the Supplementation of Salary.

Refrain from engaging in prohibited political activities

The Hatch Act prohibits most executive branch employees from engaging in partisan political activity while on-duty and while in a federal building. For purposes of the Hatch Act, political activity is defined as an activity directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group. For example, employees are strictly prohibited from displaying partisan political materials, such as campaign buttons at work. The Hatch Act rules are complex, so please be sure you understand the rules before you agree to participate in partisan political activities outside of work.

Promptly seek approval for certain outside activities 

Some new employees arrive with longstanding external professional relationships in place. For example, a new employee may serve as an adjunct professor for a local university, a member of the board of directors for an educational organization, or work part-time for a publisher of textbooks. You are required to obtain approval for certain outside activities, including but not limited to: 1) Teaching, Speaking, or Writing; 2) Clinical Practice, Consulting and other Professional Services, or 3) Services as an officer, board member or advisory committee member for an organization. Read more about Promptly seeking approval for certain outside activities.

This list is a summary of several main concepts and does not represent a comprehensive description of the ethics rules and laws applicable to Federal employees.

Page last reviewed: June 1, 2016