Gifts, Ethics, Potential Conflicts of Interest, and Outside Work

Guidelines: Gifts and State Ethics Rules


The UW School of Dentistry (UWSOD) benefits greatly from the ongoing generosity and support of its donors, be they private individuals or commercial entities.  School Administrators, Program Directors, or their designees will notify Advancement of all gifts and donations to the School. Gift and donation proposals must also be reported to Advancement for review prior to acceptance. Advancement will track all gifts and in-kind donations. Donors will receive formal acknowledgement from the UWSOD.

University policies and guidelines, and the Washington State Ethics Act put limits on gifts that *individual* state employees may accept.  Whereas the occasional grateful patient may offer home-baked goods, flowers, chocolate or other modest items (all of which are acceptable and can be shared with co-workers), employees are encouraged to maintain a professional relationship with patients and commercial entities.  Employees should avoid personally accepting gifts from commercial entities so as to maintain their impartiality.

There are some Items that all state employees may receive

  • Items from family/friends when clear beyond reasonable doubt there is not any intent to gain influence in the School or individual’s decision-making
  • Items related to an outside business of the recipient that are customary and not related to recipient’s performance of official state duties
  • Items exchanged among employees or a social event hosted by a state employee for coworkers
  • Group discounts
  • Awards, prizes or scholarships provided in recognition of academic or scientific achievement
  • Food and beverages consumed at hosted receptions (not sit-down meals) where attendance is related to employee’s official state duties
  • Unsolicited promotional items of nominal value such as pens
  • Unsolicited tokens or awards such as trophies and plaques
  • Informational material, publications, or subscriptions related to official duties
  • Admission to, and the cost of food and beverages consumed at, events sponsored by or in conjunction with a civic, charitable, governmental, or community organization
  • Free and local education related to employee’s work/profession

Limitations on state employees who have influence over purchasing/contracting

State employees participating in state business through approval, disapproval, decision, recommendation, or rendering of advice may only accept the items which all state employees may receive (section above).

Items state employees without influence over purchasing/contracting may additionally receive

  • Gifts up to $50 per year per source (cumulative)
  • Payment of enrollment, course fees, and travel expenses of attending seminars and educational programs sponsored by a bona fide governmental or nonprofit professional, educational, trade, or charitable association or institution
  • Payments by a governmental or nongovernmental entity of reasonable expenses incurred in connection with a speech, presentation, appearance, or trade mission made in an official capacity.  Official capacity means within scope of duties and on work time
  • Unsolicited flowers
  • Food and beverage on infrequent occasions in the ordinary course of meals where attendance by employee is related to the performance of official duties

Outside employment for compensation

Outside employment activities are reported on the Request for Approval of Outside Professional Work for Compensation form, formerly UW form 1460. Activities that fall in this category should not be performed with state resources or on state time. A conflict of interest review is an important part of the review process.

This is not an exhaustive list of examples; see Compliance Director for additional information