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A. From Outside Sources
The standards of conduct (5 CFR 2635 subpart B) prohibit employees from soliciting or accepting gifts directly or indirectly from "prohibited sources," which includes licensees, applicants, contractors, anyone seeking business with the agency, anyone with interests that the employee could affect, or an organization with a majority of members who meet the above description. Employees cannot accept gifts given because of their NRC position.
Employees are also prohibited from accepting gifts from the same source so frequently that a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts would be led to believe the employee is using public office for private gain.
Exceptions to this prohibition include gifts given because of any non-Federal employment, coffee or other refreshments provided at meetings, non-cash gifts valued at $20 or less from any one source (with a $50 limit during a year), gifts from friends or family members, and attendance at widely attended gatherings. The NRC can permit a nonprofit organization that is tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code to pay for an employee's official travel to a meeting or for training.
The Commission emphasizes that, because it is essential that NRC employees maintain an arms-length relationship with regulated entities and contractors, it would be prudent for employees to exercise care even in accepting permitted gifts or meals from prohibited sources.
B. Gifts to Supervisors
The standards of conduct (5 CFR 2635 subpart C) prohibit employees from giving a gift to another employee who directs or evaluates their performance, including superiors of their immediate supervisor. It also prohibits an employee from accepting a gift from an employee receiving less pay unless there is no subordinate-superior relationship and there is a personal relationship justifying the gift. In addition, it prohibits supervisors from coercing a gift from a subordinate.
Exceptions to this prohibition include non-cash items valued at $10 or less given occasionally (such as birthdays or holidays), refreshments shared in the office, and hospitality offered at home. Gifts of more than $10 can be given for special, infrequent occasions, such as retirement, marriage, or the birth or adoption of a child; only in these rare cases can an employee solicit funds for a gift from other employees.
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 12, 2020