Policies & Contracts

206 - Nepotism

Subject: Nepotism

Section: U206

Date: April, 2010


The purpose of this policy is to avoid favoritism, the appearance of or potential for favoritism, and conflicts of interest and loyalty often associated with nepotism. Nepotism is inconsistent with the University’s longstanding policy of making employment and other business decisions based solely on University needs and individual qualifications, skills, ability and performance.


No University staff employee may make, participate in, or attempt to influence employment or other business decisions involving a relative or pressure or cause others to do so.


Nepotism: favoritism in the workplace based on kinship, which ordinarily consists of making employment or other business decisions based on a family relationship.

Staff employee: All part-time and full-time University staff employees, including officers who are not primarily academic employees within the meaning of the University’s Statutes or Policies.

Employment decisions: the full spectrum of employment related actions, including but not limited to decisions related to hiring, supervision, direction of work, promotion, compensation, work hours, performance evaluation, termination and all other terms and conditions of employment.

Business decisions: decisions related to full spectrum of University commercial activities (e.g., buying, hiring, selling, contracting, licensing, leasing).

Relative: the spouse, domestic partner, and, whether by blood, adoption, marriage or domestic partnership, the child, parent, grandparent, sibling, grandchild, aunt or uncle, niece or nephew, or any person residing in the immediate household (or the household of the spouse or domestic partner of any of these relatives) of the University employee, or his or her spouse or domestic partner.


  1. This policy does not prohibit the University from simultaneously employing relatives or engaging in commercial activities with the relatives of employees. For example, relatives are permitted to work in the same University department or unit so long as the relatives comply with the requirements outlined above, e.g., there is no direct reporting or supervisory relationship between the relatives and all employment decisions are made by others.
  2. Exceptions to this policy are at the discretion of the Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer (VP & CHRO). For example, if one of the related parties is uniquely qualified to work for the other based on qualifications for a position and performs work in direct support of teaching, research or patient care, the VP & CHRO may permit the related persons to continue to work together, provided that an appropriate management plan is developed, implemented and administered, as described below in Paragraph 6.
  3. Staff employees must self-report in writing to the head of their organizational unit before they make, participate in or attempt to influence (or cause others to make, participate or attempt to influence) decisions covered by this policy. If the at-issue relationship involves the leader of an organizational unit (e.g., a Director or VP & CHRO), the report must be made in writing to the next most senior leader to whom the employee is accountable.
  4. This policy applies to instances of nepotism that existed before the enactment of this policy. Any existing relationships or situations must be disclosed immediately, evaluated, and managed as provided in this policy.
  5. Legitimate issues may arise and thus must be disclosed and managed under this policy with regard to: (i) relatives who do not fit the definition of relative provided above; or (ii) situations where the staff employee is directly or indirectly involved in the University's engagement or potential engagement (e.g., as a contractor) of a relative.
  6. As noted, if the VP & CHRO or permits an exception to this policy, a management plan must be developed, implemented and administered. The fundamental goal of the management plan is to mitigate actual and perceived favoritism and conflicts of interest and loyalty by establishing appropriate processes for employment decisions. Depending on the employment classification (e.g., staff, academic) of the individual with whom the staff employee has a relationship, a management plan should be devised by, as appropriate, the unit's academic affairs administrator, senior human resources representative or Human Resources, and must be approved by the head of the organizational unit (e.g., Dean, Director, Chairperson). At a minimum, management plans must: (i) address reporting relationships, supervision, and evaluation in a way that will assure that there will be no participation in employment decisions as prohibited by this policy and (ii) establish a review and approval process for expenditures to sufficiently mitigate or preclude favoritism or the appearance of favoritism. To ensure continuity and appropriateness, review and, as needed, revision of the approved management plan should occur at least annually and also whenever there is a germane change in reporting relationships. If the at-issue relationship involves the leader of an organizational unit, the management plan must be reviewed and approved by the organizational leader to whom the at-issue unit leader is accountable.
  7. Concerns or complaints about possible violations of this policy should be submitted to the VP & CHRO. All such complaints will be treated as confidentially as feasible and will be addressed by the VP & CHRO or their designee.
  8. Violations of this policy may result in discipline up to and including termination of employment.

Employees represented by a bargaining unit may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.