Approved by the Engineering Practice Policy Committee on March 16, 2017
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on June 4, 2017
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 29, 2017
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports policies, regulations, and statutes for managing and controlling potential conflicts of interest that could result from activities undertaken by certain employees, including engineers, after leaving public sector employment. Such policies should also promote transparency and address compensation restrictions.
Public sector entities sometimes have a need to regulate the activities of former employees in order to protect against unethical use of prior knowledge and position. To avoid unduly restricting both post public sector employment opportunities and public sector organizations' ability to attract and retain quality people, such regulations should be limited to those necessary to provide reasonable assurance against conflicts of interest. Policies should address the unfair use of "privileged information" gained during prior public sector employment or the appearance of such usage. It is recognized that general professional knowledge acquired during public sector employment may be used in connection with post public sector employment.
In support of ethical standards governing the profession as identified in ASCE's Code of Ethics, engineers must avoid conflicts of interest and perform in a manner to uphold the honor, integrity, and dignity of the profession while serving the public, their employers, and clients. Public sector engineers should adhere to these standards when they pursue activities after leaving the public sector. Moreover, engineers have a responsibility for improving the public perception of honesty in government, at least to the extent of their responsibilities.
Many public sector entities impose restrictions on employees who leave public service, varying from permanent to a one-year ban on certain activities. Although there are many conditions and exceptions to prohibited conduct, generally the individual may not:
- Represent or assist anyone else on any matter in which the individual participated personally and substantially for the government; or
- Seek to influence the individual's former employer on any matter pending before the agency in which the individual has a substantial interest.
ASCE Policy Statement 393
First Approved in 1992