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Advisory Council on Ethics (ACE)

Advisory Council on Ethics Opinion No. 12

April 19, 2000

An employee asked, "Are there guidelines in employee rules of conduct relating to wearing an Avon® pin or handing out books and samples at work?"

Accessories worn by TDCJ employees while they are at work should be consistent with the guidelines set forth by PD-28 and AD-11.64 that mandate dress codes for uniformed and non-uniformed employees. If accessories such as pins are allowed, they should be unobtrusive and not attempt to solicit business or potential customers. Therefore, pins stating, "Talk to me about Avon", etc. are not appropriate work attire.

ED-02.01, Texas Department of Criminal Justice Ethics Policy, prohibits the use of state resources for private purposes. It also recognizes that all private uses of state resources are not violations of policy. For example, using a state phone for a local call to family members or to receive a call from family members is not a violation. However, ED-02.01 strictly prohibits personal use of state time for matters attributable to private commercial purposes. This means that the sale of items related to secondary employment while at works is a violation of ED-02.01. This includes distributing books and/or samples as well. ED-02.01 also prohibits using state computers, state copiers, and state fax machines for matters relating to secondary employment.

As always, it is important to remember that duties to TDCJ must take priority at all times. Duties or responsibilities associated with secondary employment should never interfere, nor should they be brought into the state workplace. This applies not only to Avon but to all other commercial enterprises like it.