An engineer working remotely for the Baltimore Department of Public Works was caught working a second full-time job for a private employer.
According to a Baltimore OIG report, the unnamed engineer was authorized to work remotely in March 2020 during the COVID pandemic, from 8:30 to 4:30.
In May 2020 the engineer received a job offer from a private company. The engineer had listed on his resume that he worked for the DPW from 2009-2020, and the company assumed that this meant that he no longer worked there.
After accepting the job offer, the engineer began working the second job from 8:00 to 4:00, without disclosing to either this company or the Baltimore DPW that he was doing so.
The issue was discovered when the engineer applied for an internal transfer within the company, which triggered an employee review. That review uncovered the fact that he was still employed with the Baltimore DPW and had been working the two jobs at the same time.
The engineer was fired from the company, but remarkably has still retained his job at the DPW. This is because the DPW made several errors and oversights with their policies and procedures.
First, the engineer had not signed the City's Telework agreement, which details the terms and conditions for employees to work remotely. Furthermore, their Telework Agreement does not specifically address secondary employment while working remotely. Both of these points were sighted as oversights by the OIG.
The OIG also found that the City's Concurrent Employment Prohibition Policy is unclear on the subject of teleworking, and does not address whether an employee can overlap working hours when under secondary employment. Therefore it was not clear whether the engineer violated this policy.
Lastly, the engineer stopped filing Financial Disclosure Statements in 2019, because he felt that he was not required to do so. The OIG agreed with his opinion, and stated that only engineers in certain positions such as General Superintendents and Inspectors are required to do so. If the engineer had filed a Financial Disclosure Statement in 2020, then that would have either disclosed his dual employment or (if he withheld the information) would have been grounds for dismissal.
So what do you think about this case? Is it ok for an engineer to "bend" the rules and get away with it? Or should cases such as this be judged against a Code of Ethics in addition to specific rules and regulations? Leave a comment here and let us know!
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