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Ethics for Executive Branch Employees

Mark P. Rossow, PhD, PE Retired

Course Outline

This three-hour online course discusses ethical rules to be followed by executive branch employees in seven specific areas arising in the workplace.  The principles of ethical conduct specified in Executive Order 12731 are listed and applied to common situations in which employees are likely to find themselves.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

This course teaches the following specific knowledge and skills:

Intended Audience

This course is intended primarily for engineers employed in the executive branch of the Federal Government and for engineers employed by Government contractors.

Benefit to Attendees

An attendee of this course will be familiar with the rules governing ethical issues for employees of the executive branch of the Federal government and will be able to act appropriately.

Course Introduction

Most Federal employees are honest, loyal, and hardworking men and women who are eager to meet the high standards the public expects of its public servants. Understandably, these men and women may ask why they need to study the Office of Government Ethics handbook on ethical standards. The answer is that although many of the standards of conduct are highly intuitive, some are not.

Course Content

This course is based on the U.S. Office of Government Ethics ( document, “An Ethics Handbook for Executive Branch Employees,” January, 1995.

An Ethics Handbook for Executive Branch Employees

Please click on the above underlined hypertext to view, download or print the document for your study. Because of the large file size, we recommend that you first save the file to your computer by right clicking the mouse and choosing "Save Target As ...", and then open the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you still experience any difficulty in downloading or opening this file, you may need to close some applications or reboot your computer to free up some memory.

Course Summary

Standards of ethical conduct to be followed by employees of the executive branch are stated.  Applications to many realistic situations are described, and the applications of the standards to each situation are discussed.

Related Links

For additional technical information related to this subject, please visit the following websites or web pages:


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.