The Office of Government Ethics has issued new guidance on ethical considerations for federal employees for attending events sponsored by former employers, pointing out that that there is an exception to restrictions on accepting gifts for “holiday and alumni parties” as well as for an individual’s own going-away party when first leaving that employer.
Under the exception, an employee may accept “meals, lodgings, transportation and other benefits” provided by the former employer “to attend a reception or similar event when other former employees have been invited to attend, the invitation and benefits are based on the former employment relationship, and it is clear that such benefits have not been offered or enhanced because of the employee’s official position.”
That exception applies only to benefits of attendance that are part of the reception itself and does not apply to gifts from individual attendees, which would fall under general gift-acceptance rules.
Additional policies apply to a farewell events related to leaving a company to work for the government. The invitation to and benefits at the event must be “based on the former employment relationship” and it must be “clear that such benefits have not been offered or enhanced because of the employee’s official position.” Even if those conditions do not apply, it added, employees still be able to attend farewell receptions held in their honor if the food and drink are of modest value and not part of a meal, or if former co-workers or a former boss pay the cost out of personal friendship.
More on Gift Giving Rules in the Federal Workplace at ask.FEDweek.com