Friday, March 3, 2017

New Standards of Conduct Manual

The Department of Defense, Standards of Conduct Office recently issued an updated version of its Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure. This 176 page book - available free in PDF format - contains a huge selection of cases of ethical failures. The purpose of the book is to provide DoD personnel with real examples of Federal employees who have intentionally or unwittingly violated the standards of conduct. Since Government contractors are also required to implement standards for ethical conduct, which, in many cases mirror those applicable to Government employees, this book will be useful as a training tool for contractors.

These case studies include descriptions of multiple jail and probation sentences, fines, employment terminations and other sanctions that were taken as a result of ethical failures. Violations of some ethical standards involve criminal statutes.

The book is organized according to offense. Some of the offenses categories include:
  • Abuse of position
  • Bribery
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Credit card abuse
  • Endorsements
  • Financial disclosure violations
  • Fraud
  • gambling and other contest violations
  • Gift violations
  • Misuse of Government resources and personnel 
  • Political activity violations
  • Post-employment violations
  • Time and attendance violations
  • Travel violations
Did you know that running a fantasy football league in the workplace or on Government computers was an ethical violation for Government employees? What about your workplace? Do your standards of conduct cover gambling?

What kind of standards do you have for employees who have side businesses? What prohibitions are in place to prevent such employees from using subordinates to "help" out?

What procedures are in place to discourage employees from abusing time and attendance reporting? Abuses in time and attendance reporting often result in increased costs on Government contracts. One employee had to pay back $10 thousand for falsifying time worked.

Contractors are encouraged to use this handbook to augment required training on ethical conduct.

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