When you face a conflict of interest, there are serious consequences that you may face as a government employee or contractor. This occurs when an employee uses their position of authority to further their interests. Other occurrences include those of a relative, spouse, partner, or business associate. There is a financial benefit in many cases. It also can lead to a significant advantage for a friend or relative.
An alleged conflict of interest can compromise a career or professional reputation, even if it is unfounded. For this reason, it’s best to exercise professional, unbiased judgment at all times. It’s often best for optics to declare it instead of proceeding with a decision that could lead to allegations.
A conflict of interest lawyer from the Zoukis Consulting Group can be there to defend you against your charges in court. Let us know today if you need help, and we will set up a consultation with you.
Examples of a Conflict of Interest
There are many examples where disputes of interest can occur, even if it is unintended. As a government official or someone with a position of authority, it may involve hiring a family member or a close friend for a job. It may also involve offering a promotion to a close friend without following protocol or proper channels.
Generally, using your employer’s workplace, software, or work-related premises and equipment for personal business or other pursuits is another issue because it competes with the employer.
Accepting unauthorized payments or benefits from a promotional company or contractor to gain your favor is another situation where conflict of interest arises. Some companies who bid for contracts with your employer may offer employees generous gifts or significant payments, therefore persuading them to select their firm.
A board of Directors can experience a conflict in some organizations when one or more Directors favor a specific individual or company for a job or project instead of taking a more fair, unbiased approach when revealing all bids or offers. While some people cause a conflict of interest without intention, it’s a problematic situation that leads to distrust, and other legal consequences, as a result.
Get Familiar with Your Company or Organization’s Rules
Every company has a handbook or rules for employees to follow that outline their policies. Get familiar with these guidelines, including restrictions that may apply. These may include not hiring a close relative or spouse and strict confidentiality when handling personal information. By following the organization’s rules, allegations of a conflict of interest can be largely avoided.
Some not-for-profit organizations require a contractor or employee to meet specific criteria before a project or employment opportunity. This process helps eliminate the likelihood of any one or more individuals favoring one over the other, especially if the contractor is a friend or family member’s business.
Suppose you’re newly elected to a board of directors or hired for a new position at work. In that case, you may need to sign a declaration that you agree to follow confidentiality and conflict of interest guidelines to remain in that position or role.
The Consequences of a Conflict of Interest
If an organization or company can prove or substantiate that you shared confidential information or acted in your interests, they may take further action. The consequences may include disciplinary action at work, loss of a current position or employment. Other actions may lead to a lawsuit or legal action to recover any financial losses, if applicable.
Hire a Conflict of Interest Attorney
When should you hire a conflict of interest attorney? Suppose you’re facing allegations of making a decision that goes against your company or organization’s rules to better your interests. In that case, it’s best to declare the conflict of interest and mitigate the best solution. In some cases, a company may insist that a conflict of interest occurred without any compelling evidence.
If you’re uncertain why there are allegations, contact a legal professional for advice as soon as possible.
One of the best ways to help an attorney with your conflict of interest is to collect as much information as possible. If some documents or agreements indicate fair processes, this can support an argument in your defense with due diligence. Sometimes allegations are made without building a case, which a legal professional can determine.
Every situation is unique to the organization, the employee(s) involved, and the perceived conflict of interest. In some cases, all necessary protocols are followed, with fair practices, only to result in allegations despite this process. An attorney that specializes in conflicts of interest can offer a more in-depth approach to handling your situations.
You can find a conflict of interest attorney at the Zoukis Consulting Group. We will take on your case and defend you against your charges in federal court. We can also consult with you on going to federal prison and how to survive that experience as well as possible.
Call us now to set up an appointment with us.
Published Feb 15, 2022 by Christopher Zoukis, JD, MBA | Last Updated by Christopher Zoukis, JD, MBA on Jun 13, 2023 at 2:32 pm