SECTION INDEX:    Standards of Conduct

1    Purpose

2    Reference

3    Application

4    Guidance

4.1    Prohibited Behavior

4.2    Personal Appearance

4.3    Vehicle Use

4.4    Employee Identification

5    Forms

5.1    Outside Employment Form


Employees of and volunteers for the City of are expected to fully perform the duties and responsibilities of their assigned positions in a manner that contributes to the achievement of the City’s mission, and that is consistent with the City’s Philosophy Statement and values.




This Policy applies to all individuals employed by the City of Olympia or who serve in a volunteer capacity unless standards of conduct are established otherwise by contract or statute (e.g., civil service rules, union contract, individual contract, or memorandum of understanding). Departments are encouraged to adopt additional standards of conduct to enhance the operational effectiveness of the department provided the standards are consistent with this Policy.

Failure to comply with this Policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination from City service.



The following are examples of behavior or conduct that is not acceptable and is inconsistent with the City’s general philosophy and values. The list below is intended to be illustrative rather than all inclusive. Employees shall not:

a.    Improperly use the employee’s position for personal gain or for political or religious reasons.

b.    Solicit or coerce a contribution, response or action for political or religious purposes in the name of the City or while on duty.

c.    Be insubordinate to a supervisor, department director, the City Manager, or City Council Member.

d.    Display discourteous or disrespectful treatment toward a supervisor, department director, the City Manager, City Council Member, the public or a fellow employee.

e.    Lie to or intentionally mislead a supervisor, manager, or department director about a matter directly connected to the employee’s job with the City.

f.    Lie or fail to cooperate during an authorized City investigation.

g.    Unlawfully harass, discriminate against, or retaliate against a member of the public, fellow employee, or City Council member.

h.    Commit assault or show outward actions of anger.

i.    Bully others in the workplace. Such conduct will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Bullying is persistent, malicious, unwelcome, severe and pervasive mistreatment that harms, intimidates, offends, degrades or humiliates an employee, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, at the place of work and/or in the course of employment. Bullying is not simple correction, discipline, being subject to an investigation, being interviewed in the course of employment or other actions consistent with the need to protect all employees and to investigate misconduct in the workplace.

j.    Drive a City or personal motor vehicle on City business without the required driver licenses; drive said vehicle in an unsafe manner; drive said vehicle while under the influence of any substance that causes a hazardous or unsafe condition; fail to stop at or report an accident that the employee is involved in while on City business; or fail to notify their supervisor when involved in an accident while on City business.

k.    If a CDL holder, fail to immediately report an on-duty accident to their supervisor and arrange to take the required drug/alcohol test as soon as possible after the accident.

l.    Gamble for items of value during working hours or on City premises.

m.    Engage in activities on or off duty that hinder the employee’s ability to perform in their job capacity with the City;

n.    Commit or be convicted of a crime that brings discredit to the City or hinders the employee’s ability to perform in their job capacity.

o.    Be inattentive to or derelict in their City duties.

p.    Accept personal gratuities or presents designed to affect the City’s response to the public or special interest groups whether or not an affect or influence actually resulted.

q.    Use City property or City services for personal use or take City equipment or property from City premises for personal use.

r.    Take City equipment or property from City premises without specific prior knowledge and approval by the department director or their designee.

s.    Use City-owned property including, but not limited to, buildings, offices, other real property and or fleet vehicles for personal activities, convenience or profit. City-owned property is provided solely for the employee to conduct approved City business and must be consistent with the City’s policies and procedures.

t.    Take or use City-owned equipment, including, but not limited to; fleet vehicles; shop tools; FAX machines, copiers, postage, office supplies, cameras, cell phones and laptops, for personal activities, convenience or profit. City-owned equipment is provided solely for the employee to conduct City business and such use must be consistent with the City’s policies and procedures.

u.    Accept outside employment without the prior written approval of the department director. The department director shall not approve outside employment which detracts from the efficiency of the employee in their City work, conflicts with the interest of the City, would discredit the City or would prohibit the employee from performing extra duty required by City employment.

v.    Fail to follow the directions of a supervisor, department director, or the City Manager that are consistent with the employee’s job description, the City’s mission, vision, and values.

w.    Fail to satisfactorily perform assigned work, or to apply reasonable judgment or discretion in performance of a job assignment.

x.    Abuse or be wasteful of materials, property or work time.

y.    Fail to report to their supervisor when absent.

z.    Be habitually absent or tardy, even if excused.

aa.    Discuss confidential City business with unauthorized persons.

bb.    Fail to follow established safety precautions.

cc.    Engage in other similar misconduct not specifically described above.


Employees are expected to dress for work in a manner that enhances their ability to perform assigned work and conveys an image of service and professionalism to client citizens. All employees are expected to be neat and clean in attire. Appropriate attire is determined by the nature of work performed, therefore, department directors have responsibility for establishing specific dress requirements within their department.

If an employee believes that certain dress, attire, or manners of grooming are necessary to adhere to sincerely held religious beliefs or practices, the employee should contact Human Resources and request an accommodation for their dress code or grooming standards.


City vehicles are to be used for City business purposes with only de minimis personal use. When the City requires an employee to commute in a City vehicle, the vehicle may be used for de minimis personal use to and from work. Employees who use City vehicles will be subject to taxable fringe benefits for the commuting use unless specifically exempted by the Internal Revenue Service code. The City uses the “IRS Commuting Valuation Rule” in determining the value of commute use.


For benefit of the public and other City employees, all employees are encouraged to have at all times the official City of Olympia employee identification card on their person. Any employee who comes to the City Hall building at 601 Fourth Avenue must have their City Identification to gain access to the building. Other departments or buildings may have additional security or identification needs/requirements.


5.1    Outside Employment Form

Revision history: January 2023; February 2018; February 2017; May 2016; March 2015; October 2013. Superseded: Administrative Guideline Standards of Conduct”.