Issued 07/20/89; Effective 07/13/89; Reviewed Last: 06/2015 Pending Revisions


The purpose of this NOAA Administrative Order (NAO) is to establish NOAA's policy and procedures for employee conformance with law and regulation in accepting outside employment. This NAO supplements and is to be used in conjunction with Department Administrative Order (DAO) 202-735 and DAO 202-735A, Employee Responsibilities and Conduct. Refer to NAO 202-735A, Commercial Fishing by NOAA Employees, for NOAA policy and the approval process for employment concerning commercial fishing activities.


Outside employment means self-employment, or paid or unpaid part-time or full-time affiliation with a private firm, corporation, institution, volunteer organization or group, or State or local government agency.


The provisions of this Order apply to all NOAA civilian employees and all members of the NOAA Commissioned Corps.


01. NOAA employees are prohibited from engaging in any outside employment which represents a real or apparent conflict of interest or which adversely affects the performance of their assigned functions. Written approval must be obtained for any outside employment which may create the appearance of a conflict.

02. If the outside employment is in a functional area associated with a NOAA mission, e.g., fishery research, weather forecasting, oceanic and atmospheric research, survey operations, hydrology, etc., or the outside employment may create the appearance of a conflict, prior approval must be sought from the Line Office Assistant Administrator, or the Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere in the case of NOAA Staff Offices. Assistant Administrators may further delegate this authority to Regional, Laboratory, and Office Directors or their equivalents, as well as Officials-in-Charge and Meteorologists-in-Charge of Weather Service Offices and Weather Service Meteorological Observatories. Any redelegation of this authority must be in writing and a copy sent to the Chief, Personnel Division, NOAA.

03. Supervisors may approve routine requests for outside employment relating to part-time teaching in academic institutions in accordance with Section 5.02.d of this Order.

04. Employees or their supervisors may also receive advice regarding outside employment from the Department of Commerce (DOC) Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Administration when they believe legal advice is required.

05. In the case of NOAA Corps Commissioned Officers, approval must be obtained from the supervisor with the concurrence of the Director, Office of the NOAA Corps Operations.

06. New employees to NOAA participating in outside employment must comply with the provisions outlined in Section 6 of this Order when there is doubt or question about the propriety of the outside employment.


01. Employees are responsible for:

a. acquainting themselves with NOAA policies and guidelines concerning outside employment as set forth in this NAO; and

b. submitting written requests for approval for outside employment, when appropriate, and obtaining further written authorization whenever circumstances change.

02. Supervisors are responsible for:

a. ensuring that new employees receive DOC/NOAA guidance on outside employment from servicing personnel office;

b. providing advice and guidance for employees seeking authorization for outside employment;

c. seeking advice from the servicing personnel office or the DOC Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Administration, when there is doubt or question about the propriety of the outside employment;

d. ensuring that for decisions (approved or disapproved) pertaining to routine teaching requests, a copy is forwarded to the servicing personnel office and the original is forwarded to the employee;

e. forwarding employee request, within 3 days of receipt, along with a memorandum recommending approval/disapproval through supervisory channels to the servicing personnel office;

f. maintaining copies of requests, approvals, and disapprovals for outside employment; and

g. initiating prompt and appropriate remedial action (including discipline) when a violation, intentional or unintentional, is detected.

03. Chief, Personnel Division, NOAA; Administrative Support Center (ASC) Personnel Officers; Chief, Commissioned Personnel Division have, for their jurisdiction, responsibility for:

a. assuring that employees are reminded annually of the provisions of this NAO in order that requirements and procedures for requesting approval for outside approval are fulfilled;

b. making Department and NOAA guidelines on outside employment or a summary of them available to employees when they enter on duty;

c. reviewing and making recommendations to the appropriate management officials on requests for outside employment;

d. retaining decision notices on outside employment requests for inclusion on the left side of the employee's Official Personnel Folder (OPF), and forwarding copies of these notices to the supervisors of employees who made the request;

e. working with supervisors in taking corrective action in situations where conflicts or apparent conflicts of interest exist; and

f. advising new employees involved in outside employment prior to coming to NOAA, that within 10 days of entering on duty, they must provide their immediate supervisor with the information outlined in Section 6.01, if the existing employment falls under Section 4 of this Order.

04. The DOC Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Administration serves in an advisory capacity when there is doubt or question about the propriety of the outside employment or at any time legal advice is required. A written opinion on every request that is forwarded to the DOC Office of the Assistant.

General Counsel for Administration from the servicing personnel office will be provided.


01. An employee seeking approval for outside employment as described in Section 4 must, as far in advance as possible, submit a written request to his or her supervisor prior to commencing the outside employment. The request must contain the following:

a. the person or organization for whom he or she will be working and the type of work to be done;

b. the number of hours to be worked and when;

c. whether or not he or she will be paid;

d. the anticipated commencement and termination dates of the outside employment; and

e. an assurance that no government property, equipment, time or assistance is to be provided.

02. Written requests for approval of outside employment will be processed as follows:

a. All written requests for outside employment except those defined by Section 4.05 must be forwarded through supervisory channels to the servicing personnel office for a recommendation of approval or disapproval, except in the case of routine requests for teaching at an academic institution.

b. The servicing personnel office will make a written recommendation concerning the request and send it to the appropriate deciding official.

c. If either the servicing personnel office or the deciding official has any concerns about the propriety of the employment request or recommendation by the servicing personnel office, he or she will contact the DOC Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Administration for an advisory opinion.

d. The deciding official considering the outside employment request will immediately forward the decision back to the employee through the servicing personnel office.

e. The servicing personnel office will retain a copy of the decision notice for inclusion on the left side of the employee's official personnel folder, and send the original decision notice to the employee's supervisor for notification purposes to the employee.

03. Employees may seek administrative review of a disapproval at the next highest level. The decision at that level will be final.


01. Employees violating the guidelines and procedures set forth in this NAO may be subject to disciplinary actions.

02. In the event there is change in the employee's attendance, change in behavior, change in work performance, or other indication of potential or immediate deficiencies, the supervisor must initiate such action to promote efficiency of the service.


Director, Office of Administration

Office of Primary Interest:
Personnel Division AD2