Limited Personal Use of Telecommunication Resources and Office Equipment

(Based on Departmental Regulation 3300-1)
(As agreed to by the FSPC - 3/28/00, confirmed 6/14/00)

This policy authorizes the limited personal use of telecommunications resources and office equipment by USDA Forest Service employees in the workplace on an occasional basis provided that the use involves minimal expense to the government and does not interfere with official business. Occasional personal use of telecommunications resources and office equipment shall normally take place during the employees' personal time. Official government business always takes precedence over the personal use of telecommunications resources and office equipment.  Application of this policy is subject to the following criteria and inappropriate personal uses listed below.

This policy is to be applied using the following criteria:

 1.  Employees who have questions related to the application of this policy are expected to contact their supervisor for a determination on appropriate use.

2.  Application of this FS policy within the same management unit must be applied consistently, with exceptions based on individual circumstances (e.g. misuse, special employee needs, etc.)


Inappropriate Personal Uses

1.  Any personal use that causes congestion, delay, or disruption of service to any government system, equipment or service, including but not limted to: large electronic file attachments, "push" technology on the internet, other continuous electronic data streams that can degrade the network,  frequent or lengthy personal local phone calls/faxes, or more than occassional use of a copier to make 1-2 personal copies.

2.  Using the government systems as a staging ground or platform to gain unauthorized access to other systems (i.e. hacking).

3.  The creation, copying, transmission, or retransmission of chain letters or other unauthorized mass mailings (i.e. to lists of multiple unknown recipients where no official business relationship exists) regardless of the subject matter.

4.  Using the government office equipment for activities that are illegal, inappropriate, or offensive and, if done absent use of such equipment would be deemed misconduct (e.g. hate speech, offensive jokes/ stories/language).

5.  The unauthorized acquisition, use reproduction, transmission, and distribution of computer software or other material protected by national and international copyright laws, trade marks or other intellectual property rights.

6.  The creation, downloading, viewing, storage, copying or transmission of sexually explicit or sexually oriented materials, illegal gambling, illegal weapons, workplace violence, or activities otherwise prohibited by law or regulation.

7.   Use for commercial purposes or in support of "for profit" personal activities or in support of other outside employment, business activity (e.g. consulting for pay, sales or administration of personal business/financial transactions, sales of goods or services).

8.  Engaging in any outside fund raising activity, endorsing any product or service, participating in any lobbying activity, or partisan political activity, unless authorized by law or labor contract.

9.  Sending or posting agency information to external newsgroups, bulletin boards or other forums without authorization.

10.  Any use that generates more than minimal additional expense to the government.   An employee who exceeds a reasonable expense threshold will normally first be cautioned before administrative action is taken for subsequent similar offenses.