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Policy Statement

This policy addresses the potential perception of favoritism, preferential treatment or the appearance of conflicts in hiring and supervising relatives of Faculty, Staff, or Student employees, or in academic matters.

Reason for Policy

WNE welcomes applicants for employment from members of current Faculty and Staff’s families; applicants will be considered for employment on the basis of their qualifications, skills and abilities only. The hiring decision is based on the best qualified candidate as determined by management.

However, the employment of relatives may result in various conflicts including the perception of favoritism, conflicts of interest, workplace discord, distraction of students, and other conflicts that may disadvantage both the University and the Faculty or Staff.

Who Is Governed by this Policy

All Faculty and Staff and Student Employees


It is the goal of the University to avoid creating or maintaining circumstances in which the perception, appearance, or possibility of favoritism exists. The university may allow existing family relationships to be maintained, or employ individuals who are related to current Faculty or Staff under the following circumstances:

  • Individuals may not work under the direct supervision of a related Department Head, Supervisor, or Dean;
  • They may not create a supervisor/subordinate relationship with a family member;
  • They may not supervise or evaluate a family member in any way;
  • The relationship will not create an adverse impact on work performance;
  • The relationship may not create an actual or perceived conflict-of-interest;
  • For students who are in a class taught by a relative or other close relationship, grades must be evaluated by a non-relative.

Employees are responsible for reviewing the University’s Consensual Relationship Policy and understanding how it overlaps with the Nepotism Policy.

This policy must be applied to any employment or student action including but not limited to hiring, promoting, transferring, ranking, rating, grading, tenure, retention, impact on pay, judging for or allocation of awards or scholarships, allocation of office space or any other employment decision of any kind.

There are some departments within a school or division that are small enough to warrant recusal of a Department Head, Supervisor, or Dean or authorized decision-maker from employment-related decisions. In these cases, a proxy for a Department Head, Supervisor, or Dean can be identified jointly with the Office of the Provost and the Office of Human Resources.

Relationships by blood, marriage, or legal means addressed within this policy should be identified for (1) candidates for employment, (2) current employees, and (3) students in classes taught by a relative. In these cases, the matter should be immediately reported to Human Resources, using the Nepotism Compliance Agreement form.

From consensual relationships: Family relationships include spouses, parents, grandparents, siblings, children, and all in-laws.

In all cases, the most qualified candidate available, consistent with University policy and resources, shall be appointed to available positions.


For purposes of this policy, the term “relative” shall include relationships established by blood, marriage, or legal action. Examples include the Faculty or Staff member’s spouse, mother, father, dependent child, sibling, in-laws, stepparent, stepchild, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, grandparent, grandchild, or cousin.


It is the responsibility of every staff member to identify to Human Resources, any existing family relationship that falls under the definition provided in this policy. In this manner, we can assure appropriate controls are in place to avoid the perception of favoritism and conflict of interest. In the event that a parent is teaching a student, this information must be disclosed to the Office of Human Resources immediately. Failure to adhere to this policy may lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination, where appropriate.


The Nepotism Compliance Agreement must be completed for all instances where an employee is related to an immediate family member within a department or school.

Nepotism Compliance Agreement

Document History

Policy Origination Date: January 23, 2023

Who Approved This Policy

Associate Vice President of Human Resources 


Associate Director of Human Resources
Rivers Memorial