The University of Wisconsin System in accordance with the State Department of Employment Relations implements a Code of Ethics for its employees. The code of ethics found in chapter ER-MRS 24 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code is meant to help employees avoid activities which cause, or tend to cause, conflicts between their personal interest and their public responsibilities. The chapter does not prevent employees from accepting outside employment or following a pursuit which in no way interferes or conflicts with performing state duties. However, some of the activities employees are prohibited from doing are:
1. Conflict of Interest - using one’s position or using state property to influence or gain financial or other benefits for oneself, one’s family, or an organization the employee is associated with;
2. Acceptance of Gifts or Favors - soliciting or accepting money or anything of value if it could reasonably be expected to influence an employee’s official actions or judgment, or could reasonably be considered as a reward for any official action or inaction;
3. Use of Confidential Information - using or disclosing information, which is not public information, gained by reason of an employee’s position in a way that could result in the receipt of anything of value for oneself, one’s immediate family, or for other persons or organizations;
4. Nepotism – an employee shall not effectively recommend or decided to hire or promote another person when the person affected is a member of the employee’s immediate family.*
5. Use of State Property – an employee may not use or allow to be used any state owned or leased property for private activities, except as provided by law, or for any use other than that which serves the public interest.
6. Outside Employment – an employee may not use state time, facilities, equipment or supplies, or use a state badge, uniform, or use the prestige or influence of a state position for personal gain or advantage. An employee should notify the supervisor before accepting any outside employment. Any employee currently employed outside the university should report such employment to the supervisor. A form to report such action is available from the Office of Human Resources.
*Immediate family is defined as parents, stepparents, grandparents, foster parents, children, step children, grandchildren, foster children, brothers (and their spouses), or sisters (and their spouses) of the employee or the employee’s spouse, or other relatives of the employee or the employee’s spouse who are residing in the household of the employee.
If, in the discharge of an employee’s official duties, an employee is required to take action which would result in conflict of interest and it is prohibited by the Code of Ethics, an employee shall (l) not take the action, and (2) prepare a written statement describing the possible conflict of interest and submit it to the supervisor for further appropriate action if necessary
In addition to the Code of Ethics, employees also retain all rights under the Constitution of the United States, Wisconsin State Statutes and laws, and any labor agreements negotiated pursuant to Wisconsin statutes.
If an employee is ever accused of violating provisions of the Code of Ethics, the matter will be reviewed through the following channels by the campus: appropriate division head and department director or chairperson, where applicable. They will investigate complaints and report their findings to a committee consisting of the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Assistant Chancellor for Business and Finance, and the Human Resources Director in accordance with state personnel procedures.
If employees have any questions about their rights or responsibilities under the Code of Ethics, they should contact their supervisors or the Director of Human Resources who serves as the university’s coordinator for Code of Ethics advising and counseling and is available to assist employees and supervisors. A copy of the Code of Ethics from the Wisconsin Administrative Code is available at the Office of Human Resources for viewing.