Can an ambassador ask his/her staff aide to shop for his/her spouse’s birthday present during duty hours?
Your supervisor cannot ask you to shop for his/her spouse’s birthday present during work hours. Official time is to be used for the performance of official duties. You can only use your work hours to perform your job. Shopping for the present would be misuse of your official time.
But that’s probably easier said than done if you are at the receiving end of the “request.” So supervisors must be cognizant of 5 C.F.R. § 2635.705(b) which states:
Use of a subordinate’s time. An employee shall not encourage, direct, coerce, or request a subordinate to use official time to perform activities other than those required in the performance of official duties or authorized in accordance with law or regulation.
This comes right from the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), a small agency within the executive branch, established by the Ethics in Government Act of 1978. Originally part of the Office of Personnel Management, OGE became a separate agency on October 1, 1989 as part of the Office of Government Ethics Reauthorization Act of 1988. “The Office of Government Ethics exercises leadership in the executive branch to prevent conflicts of interest on the part of Government employees, and to resolve those conflicts of interest that do occur. In partnership with executive branch agencies and departments, OGE fosters high ethical standards for employees and strengthens the public’s confidence that the Government’s business is conducted with impartiality and integrity.”
Check out the common ethics issues here. OGE has a training page here including the crossword puzzles here. Some of the more common ethical topics from the OGE website are listed below with their corresponding links to the online or downloadable puzzles. Play, have fun, learn the regs!
Misuse of Position Employee Crossword Puzzle (2007)
Everything about your government position — your title and authority, the information you need to do your job, your time and the government property you use to accomplish your work — should be used for the benefit of the American people. You and others you know should not improperly benefit from your government position. This crossword puzzle gives you a chance to test your knowledge of some of the misuse of position rules.
Fillable Version (fill out the crossword puzzle online)
Section 508 compliant version
Download Print Versions: Puzzle (PDF) | Answers (PDF)
Grand Slam Employee Crossword Puzzle (2008)
You play a part in making your agency an ethical workplace. The behavior of every Federal employee shapes the public’s perception of its Government. Want to be sure you’re doing your part? Know the Standards of Conduct, the conflict of interest laws, and how the ethics program works in your agency and the Federal Government. This puzzle gives you a chance to test your knowledge in these areas.
General Things You Should Know About Ethics Employee Crossword Puzzle (2007)
You play a part in making your agency an ethical workplace. To do this, you need to appreciate how the ethics program works in your agency and the Federal Government. This crossword puzzle provides an opportunity to test your understanding of the ground rules on ethics.
Gifts Employee Crossword Puzzle (2007)
People give gifts for a variety of reasons. Sometimes gifts are given in an attempt to influence the way federal employees perform their government duties. You want to avoid gifts — whether from outside sources or between employees — that might affect or appear to affect the way you do your job. This crossword puzzle gives you a chance to test your knowledge of some of the gift rules.
There are more crossword puzzles here.