Acknowledging the Restrictions Associated with the Tools Available to You
Government offices are transparent in their assertion that workplace assets are not to be used for personal gain or other “unauthorized activities.” Less clear is the list of items that qualify as a government resource, and how they may be misused.
What Is Considered a Government Resource?
Generally, anything provided by your job to facilitate the completion of your expected duties is considered a work resource. As such, employees are expected to follow strict guidelines when using them. Commonly exploited resources include:
- One’s public office and title
- Work technology and supplies
- Nonpublic information
- On-the-clock time
In a federal office, these are considered government property. As such, the government has the right to impose certain restrictions regarding their use.
What Is a Misuse of Government Resources?
Anything that strays from accomplishing official duties outlined in your job description or assigned to you by a superior is a misuse of official resources. Examples of misuse of government property include:
- Using Internet connection or computers for partisan political activity
- Using your own time, or a coworker’s time, for something other than official business
- Using official letterhead and stationery for personal business
- Removing Government files from the office
An individual may also be guilty of misusing their position itself. Examples of a misuse of position include:
- Using the position to coerce another
- Using the position to endorse a product or person
- Using the position to market their personal teaching, writing, or similar endeavors