Points of departure

The Postal Service wants to remind employees that ethics rules apply even after someone retires or leaves the organization for other employment.

The rules mainly address two concerns: when former employees can interact with USPS on behalf of new employers, and how current and former employees may interact with each other.

Post-employment ethics considerations include:

• Departed employees should be treated by current USPS employees as members of the public. They should not be granted special access to employees, resources or equipment.

• Confidential, nonpublic or proprietary postal information must never be used by a former employee in their new position.

• Former employees can work for any employer, but there are restrictions on certain actions, depending on what USPS duties they performed.

For example, someone who worked on projects involving outside organizations or individuals while with USPS may not communicate with the Postal Service about the same project on behalf of their new employer.

Another example is that former employees may not communicate with USPS for a period of two years on matters worked on by subordinates during their last year of postal employment.

• Employees who reached a certain salary threshold before their departure have a one-year “cooling-off” period before they may appear before the Postal Service on behalf of a new employer — on any matter. The threshold changes yearly, so departing employees should check with the Ethics and Legal Compliance team to find out if this restriction applies to them.

• Behind-the-scenes work on many postal matters on behalf of a new employer is acceptable. “Behind the scenes” means the person does not communicate or appear before USPS while performing this work.

• Former employees should avoid inadvertently violating post-employment ethics restrictions in social interactions with current employees. If in doubt, check with the Ethics and Legal Compliance team.

Because the determination of whether post-employment ethics restrictions apply is fact-specific, current and former employees are urged to seek guidance relevant to their particular circumstances by contacting the Ethics and Legal Compliance team.

The team can be reached by calling 202-268-6346 or by emailing ethics.help@usps.gov.