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HR Policies

Policy # 19.0: Nepotism

Revision date:
December 3, 2013

Purpose
This nepotism policy reflects the realities of today’s multi-professional, dual-career families in a manner that addresses nepotism concerns but does not inhibit the ability of the University to hire the best qualified individuals. Nepotism is generally inconsistent with the University’s longstanding policy of making employment decisions based solely on unit needs and individual qualifications, skills, ability, and performance.

Employment includes regular and temporary full- and part-time employment, student employment and work-study, and graduate and other assistant programs.

Definition of relatives: Parents, children, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, brothers- and sisters- in law, mothers- and fathers- in law, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, sons- and daughters-in law and half- or step-relatives in the same relationships.

Policy
The employment of relatives within the University is not precluded, as long as the employment is in compliance with all University policies regarding employment qualifications, performance, promotion, and management of situations where nepotism, or the appearance of nepotism, is possible.  

  1. No member of the Board of Trustees, except those elected to the Board of Trustees as faculty or staff representatives, shall be employed by the University. (KRS 164.131(7))  No relative of a member of the Board of Trustees shall be employed by the University. (KRS 164.225)
  2. No relative of the President or any person reporting directly to the President shall be employed in a position in that person’s administrative area, unless approval is granted by the Board of Trustees.  Approval by the Board shall only be granted upon a determination that:
    1. The employment is in the best interest of the University;
    2. The Board has been informed of the selection process and all University regulations and policies regarding hiring and employment qualifications have been followed; and
    3. The Board has reviewed and approved a written management plan, including an agreement concerning supervisory and other management arrangements. The management plan shall ensure that employment decisions are made impartially and that neither employee is disadvantaged.  The management plan shall ensure that the possibility of nepotism and the appearance of impropriety are eliminated and shall be consistent with Governing Regulations I and X related to Nepotism.
  3. In general, no relative of any employee of the University shall be employed in any position in the University over which the related employee exercises supervisory or line authority.  In some cases, however, when it is in the best interest of the University, potential conflicts can be managed through prompt disclosure of the relationship and approval by the appropriate senior administrator.  Senior administrator means the person reporting directly to the President and having supervisory authority for the area where the conflict or potential conflict exists. Approval by the senior administrator shall only be granted upon a determination that:
    1. The employment is in the best interest of the University;
    2. The senior administrator has been informed of the selection process and all University regulations and policies regarding hiring and employment qualifications have been followed; and
    3. The senior administrator has reviewed and approved a written management plan, including an agreement concerning supervisory and other management arrangements. The management plan shall ensure that employment decisions are made impartially and that neither employee is disadvantaged.  The management plan shall ensure that the possibility of nepotism and the appearance of impropriety are eliminated and shall be consistent with Governing Regulations I and X related to Nepotism.
  4. Employment of relatives within the same department or division shall be approved by the senior administrator.
  5. The employment of relatives of University employees, as described in this paragraph, whose relationship was not a violation of this section of these Governing Regulations prior to its amendment on April 10, 1984, does not constitute a violation of the amended policy provided the relatives are regular employees of the University and remain in the University employment positions which they held on April 10, 1984.  However, the transfer of any such employees described in this paragraph (whose employment relationship was not a violation of policy prior to its amendment on April 10, 1984) to any other regular University position shall require approval of the President.
  6. The University strongly urges those in positions of authority not to engage in conduct of an amorous or sexual nature with a person they are, or are likely in the future to be, in a position of evaluating. The existence of a power difference may restrict the less powerful individual's freedom to participate willingly in the relationship.
    If one of the parties in an apparently welcomed amorous or sexual relationship must evaluate the performance of the other person, the relationship must be reported to the dean, department chair or supervisor so that suitable arrangements can be made for an objective evaluation of the student or employee.

Process

  1. The department head is responsible for verifying that employment or transfer within the department shall not cause a violation of this policy.
  2. The senior administrator in conjunction with Human Resources or Office of Faculty Advancement shall approve of the hiring of a relative working in the same unit or college, with or without supervisory authority between them, as well as the management plan associated with the oversight of the employed relative.
  3. Approval of the Management Plan shall occur prior to the hiring of the relative or prior to the establishment of the legal relationship which creates the relative as defined in policy.

Related Links:

UK Management Plan (Regarding Nepotism)

Request to Hire Relative in Same Department/Division Memo Template

Related Policies:

GR I, The University of Kentucky (Definition)

GR X, Regulations Affecting Employment

AR 6:1 Policy on Discrimination and Harassment

Archived Versions of this Policy

Previous version: revised 10-11-2013
Previous version: revised 08-22-2012
Previous version: revised 08-21-2007
Previous version: revised 08-15-2006
Previous version: revised 05-04-2006
Previous version: revised 04-01-2006
Previous version: revised 07-11-2002
Previous version: revised 04-01-1990