Outside Activity and Conflict of Interest


OUTSIDE ACTIVITY AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST

The University of West Florida encourages its Employees to engage in activities supporting their professional growth, creating new knowledge and ideas, and furthering the University’s mission of excellence in teaching, research, and service. University Employees’ primary professional obligation, however, is to act in the best interest of the University and to maintain the highest ethical and professional standards. A University Employee’s Outside Activities or interests must not conflict, or appear to conflict, with their professional obligations to the University of West Florida. Accordingly, this Policy establishes standards and requirements to protect the University’s financial well-being, reputation, and legal obligations and provides a system for identifying, reporting, and managing real or apparent conflicts.

OUTSIDE ACTIVITY

An outside activity includes any activity, compensated or uncompensated, which is not part of the employee's assigned duties for the University and for which the University has provided the employee with no compensation. In general, employees of the University of West Florida are permitted to engage in outside activities.

OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES THAT MUST BE REPORTED AND APPROVED INCLUDE (but not limited to):

  • Employment outside the University
  • Private consulting, counseling, advising, and speaking
  • Teaching and/or research appointments for an entity other than UWF
  • Seeking an elected public office
  • Serving as an expert witness or legal consultant
  • Practicing as a licensed professional
  • Service on Board of Directors
  • Presenting at professional meetings in which an honorarium is being paid to the employee
  • Professional activities provided in a foreign country, or directing the activities of others in a foreign country
  • Activities involving more than incidental use of UWF facilities, equipment, or services
  • Activities requiring the waiver or assignment of the employee’s or UWF’s rights or interests to any inventions or works that may be developed during the course of or from the activity.

OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES THAT DO NOT NEED TO BE REPORTED

  • Peer review of articles or research proposals
  • Unpaid scholarly collaborations at another academic or research institution
  • Receiving an honorary degree from another institution
  • Editorial services for educational or professional organizations
  • Conducting workshops for professional societies
  • Musical or other creative performances and exhibitions that are consistent with the faculty member’s discipline

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

A conflict of interest generally means a situation in which regard for private interest tends to lead to disregard of public duty or interest, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Engaging in an outside activity that includes either an employee or a business entity in which an employee or his or her relative has a material interest doing business with the University; or
  • An employee holding an employment or contractual relationship with any business entity that
    • Is subject to the regulation of or is doing business with the University, or
    • That will create a continuing or frequently recurring conflict between the employee’s private interests and the performance of the employee’s duties for the University, or
    • That would impede the full and faithful discharge of the employee’s professional duties, institutional responsibilities or any other obligations the employee may have to the University. 

EXAMPLES OF CONFLICT OF INTEREST INCLUDE (but not limited to):

  • Employee or his/her relative has a business that contracts to provide goods or services to UWF or provides funding for a UWF research project.
    • Husband works for Office Depot and Office Depot supplies the college with supplies.
    • Uncle provides funding for sponsored research that supports UWF, whether or not it directly benefits the employee
    • Son works for a construction company that is building or renovating a UWF building
  • The employee has a consulting job that requires him/her to leave their work incomplete or leave UWF during assigned work times.
  • The employee uses UWF facilities, equipment, supplies, or services for his second job.
    • Holding regular meetings in your office
    • Using UWF printer to print items for your outside activity regularly
  • Employment or use of students, including research and teaching assistants, for other than UWF business
    • Utilizing students to support a consulting position 

USING UNIVERSITY FACILITIES, EQUIPMENT, OR SERVICES

  • Any employee who wishes to request the use of University facilities, equipment, or personnel in conjunction with an outside activity must submit a written request for such use using the appropriate form. Failure to submit such a request constitutes specific lack of permission to use any University resources in conjunction with an outside activity or employment. Each request will be evaluated on its own merits. The University is under no obligation to grant any such request.
  • An employee engaging in an outside activity shall not use the facilities, equipment, or services of the University in connection with the outside activity without prior approval. Approval of the use of University facilities, equipment, or services shall be conditioned upon reimbursement of the costs related to such use. A Request for Approval of Use of University Resources form will need to be completed and approved.
  • Charges for the use of University facilities by employees for their outside activity shall be at the same rate as ordinarily charged to the general public.

REPORTING

All employees (Faculty, Work Force, and OPS) {Students and Adjuncts only need to complete the outside activity form if they are funded to participate in the design, conduct, and reporting of research or other types of sponsored projects.} as follows:

  • Each year by August 15. The employee will designate on the form is there is an outside activity or conflict of interest to report
  • Each time there is a significant change in a previously approved outside activity/conflict of interest
  • Each time an employee plans to engage in a compensated outside activity
  • When the uncompensated activity:
    • Creates or reasonably appears to create a conflict of interest. Interferes or reasonably appears to interfere with the full performance of the employee’s professional responsibilities of other University obligations.
    • Interferes with the employee's primary commitment of time, attention and energies to the University
  • Form must be submitted and approved prior to engaging in the activity. Plan accordingly.
  • During the review process of the form and if a potential conflict of interest or commitment is identified, the employee will be notified to resolve the conflict.
  • The employee should not pursue the outside activity until the form has been approved.
  • Employees on any type of leave (which includes professional development leave, annual leave, sick leave, FMLA/medial leave, etc.) are required to submit a form under the conditions described above.

WHY DO I HAVE TO REPORT?

  • Florida Statute requires that all employees must report conflicts and outside activities (See Fla. Stat. §112.313)
  • University Policy requires it
  • The policy and statute were instituted to create an environment of transparency and fairness to the citizens of the state
  • Also, to prevent abuse, including bribery, nepotism, and exploitation of employment

WHAT IF I DON'T REPORT?

An employee's failure to fully and properly report outside activities and other interests or failure to follow any conditions imposed pursuant to the University’s approval of such activities may be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

Where approval for an outside activity is based upon a report containing incomplete or inaccurate information provided by the employee, the approval is null and void.

PROCEED TO THE OUTSIDE ACTIVITY FORM

  • NOTE: There is only one form that needs to be completed.
  • If you have multiple outside activities, each activity must be on a separate outside activity form.
  • Click the Outside Activity Form to proceed to the form
    • When you click “NO” to “Do you have an outside activity?”, you will receive an email to sign the DocuSign form. This will complete the process.
    • When you click “YES” to “Do you have an outside activity?”, you will receive an email to complete additional questions before you sign the document.
    • Your routing for approval will be automatically populated. If the approval names are not correct or not available, you can manually change or input the correct names.
    • Supervisors, Department Heads, Vice Presidents, and President - When the Outside Activity Form is sent to you for approval and signature, please sign the form and type Approved/Disapproved in the comment box. You can also write additional comments as needed in the comment box.
  • For additional guidance, the University of West Florida Employee Code of Ethics, Outside Activity, and Conflict of Interest Policy HR 15.03-08/20 provides guidance to employees seeking to engage in outside activities.