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POLICY
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ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY
Home : Human Resources : Workplace Rules and Guidelines

Managing Nepotism and Personal Relationships

Effective Date: March 1999
Last Update: July 2008
Responsible University Officer:
  • Vice President for Equity and Diversity
Policy Owner:
  • Director of Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action
Policy Contact:
CONSULTED WITH: University Senate

Printed on: . Please go to http://policy.umn.edu for the most current version of the Policy or related document.

POLICY STATEMENT

Members of the University community are prohibited from directly influencing the University employment or academic progress of a University member with whom he or she has a personal relationship. In addition, the policy may be invoked where there is no direct influence on employment or academics, but where the relationship has a negative impact on the educational or work environment.

A University member who is or will be in a position to engage in a prohibited activity must consult with the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) to determine whether or not the relationship violates this policy and to develop an appropriate nepotism agreement. Likewise, a supervisor or manager who becomes aware of a potential nepotism violation should report it to the EOAA Office as should any employee who believes that their employment is negatively affected by a personal relationship of their own or another's.

Exceptions to this policy may be granted when eliminating the prohibited activities would unreasonably disadvantage one or both of the University members in the personal relationship. In the case of an exception to the policy, a written agreement must be developed to ensure that employment and academic decisions are made impartially. Likewise, even if the relationship does not have a direct influence on employment or academic progress, but it has a negative impact on the work environment, a written agreement may be necessary. The Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action will review and approve all written agreements.

REASON FOR POLICY

To implement Board of Regents Policy: Nepotism and Personal Relationships. The University is committed to the highest standard of professional conduct and integrity and expects all members of the university community to adhere to them. Members of the University community must take care to ensure that personal relationships within the community do not result in conflicts of interest and situations that might impair objective judgment or create a hostile work environment.

PROCEDURES

FORMS/INSTRUCTIONS

There are no forms associated with this policy.

APPENDICES

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. What can I do if I work with two co-workers who are involved in a romantic or familial relationship and I feel they are deriving certain employment advantages from the relationship?

    Consult with someone from the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office and/or your human resources representative. You may also report any potential violation of the Nepotism Policy through UReport or the University's confidential hotline.

  2. What is meant by a "power disparity"?

    A power disparity usually exists when an persons position or status allows the individual to influence the U employment or academic progress of another member of the U community. Some examples include:

    • faculty/student
    • supervisor/subordinate
    • reviewer/applicant
  3. How do I prepare a Nepotism Agreement?

    After you have determined that the personal relationship would violate the policy you can develop a policy using the template that is attached to the appendices below and review it with someone in the EOAA Office.

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS

Subject
Contact
Phone
Fax/Email
Primary Contact(s)
612-624-9547
For consultations or to review implementation plans
Equal Opportunity & Affirmative Action Office
Voice: 612-624-9547
TDD: 612-626-8947
612-624-5223

DEFINITIONS

Administrator/Supervisor
Any administrator or supervisor with responsibility for management or supervision of a unit.
Member of University Community
Any University of Minnesota faculty member, student, or staff member, or other individual engaged in any University activity or program.
Nepotism
Actions by a University member that directly or indirectly influence the University employment (e.g., hiring, promotion, supervision, evaluation, and determination of salary) or academic progress (e.g., grading and advising) of any other University member with whom they have a personal relationship. This definition includes instances where there is no direct influence on employment or academics, but the relationship has a negative impact on the educational or work environment.
Personal Relationship
A marital or other committed relationship; significant familial relationship, including, relationships by blood, adoption, marriage, or domestic partnership; partner, parent, grandparent, child, sibling, first cousin, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, spouse, brother- or sister-in-law, father – or mother-in-law, son- or daughter-in-law, step-parent or step-child; consensual sexual or romantic relationship; a close personal friendship; or a significant business relationship.
Prohibited Activities
Directly influencing or exerting power over the employment or academic progress of a member of the University community, including but not limited to hiring, promotion, supervision, evaluation, determination of salary, grading, and advising.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office
Establish procedures for this policy. Advise and educate departments and individuals on resolutions involving personal relationships and develop nepotism policy where necessary. Store documentation when requested.
Member of University Community
Inform their supervisor of any workplace personal relationship involvement.
Administrator/Supervisor
Consult with each individual in the relationship, either jointly or separately. Contact EOAA. Protect the employment or academic interests of the subordinate. Document consultation regarding personal relationships. Keep all documentation secure and separate from any official file.

RELATED INFORMATION

HISTORY

Amended:
July 2008 - Statement, Exclusions, Definitions, Responsibilities and Procedure clarified and updated. Added new appendix: Template for Nepotism Agreement.
Amended:
June 2006 - Title of Policy changed from "Managing Consensual Relationships in the Workplace" to "Managing Nepotism and Personal Relationships" and the procedure title "Responding to Consensual Relationships" changed to: "Responding to Nepotism and Personal Relationships".
Amended:
June 2002 - Title of Policy changed from "Managing Personal Relationships in the Workplace" to "Managing Nepotism and Consensual Relationships" and the procedure title "Responding to Personal Relationships" changed to: "Responding to Nepotism and Consensual Relationships". This change was made to make this policy and procedure easier to find.
Amended:
May 1999 - Added FAQ section.
Effective:
March 1999 - The Regents policy on Nepotism and Consensual Relations was passed on December 11, 1998, modifying the previous policy on Nepotism. This policy establishes the first procedures.

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The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Last modified on November 13, 2013