Nepotism and Employment of Family Members
Date of Current Revision: February 2014
Responsible Officer: Director of Human Resources
This policy is intended to establish the rules and procedures for the employment and supervisory assignments of members of an employee's immediate family.
The Board of Visitors has been authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia to govern James Madison University. See Code of Virginia section 23-164.6; 23-9.2:3. The Board has delegated the authority to manage the university to the president.
Family Member or Family
(1) A spouse, (2) any other person residing in the same household as the employee who is a dependent of the employee or of whom the employee is a dependent (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3106), or (3) any person related to the employee within the second degrees of kinship or the third degree of lineage. This shall include the employee's or the spouse's children, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, brothers, sisters, half-brothers and half-sisters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, first cousins, second cousins and persons married to them, including adopted, step, and foster relationships.
Favoritism based relationship and/or kinship regardless of merit.
The employee in direct authority over another employee. For the purposes of this policy, this encompasses the person who evaluates the employee, makes assignments to the employee, or has authority to hire or separate, or to determine or make recommendations on the hiring, separating, salary or other terms and conditions of employment of the employee.
The supervisor's supervisor.
The supervisor-subordinate relationship shall be interpreted to include the relationship between the immediate supervisor and subordinate as well as the reviewer and subordinate.
This policy is applicable to all employees of the university, including student employees.
Prohibited employment: An individual may not be employed in any position in which he/she will function as the immediate supervisor or reviewer of a member of his/her family. An individual may not be employed in any position in which he/she will function as the subordinate or in a subordinate-reviewer relationship with a member of his/her family. Family members shall not be employed in the supervisory-subordinate relationship even if it results from marriage after the employment relationship was formed.
Employment requiring prior approval: In positions not involving nepotism in violation of this policy, relationship by family or marriage shall constitute neither an advantage nor a restriction from employment by James Madison University, provided the individual meets and fulfills the university's employment qualifications. If the applicant has a family member already employed by the university in the same college, or assistant or associate vice president’s (AVP’s) area, the applicant may only be offered a position with the explicit prior written approval from the appropriate vice president. If the relative is related to the AVP or dean, the approval must come from the vice president.
Employment not requiring prior approval: An applicant who identifies a family member currently employed by the university in another division, college, or assistant or associate vice president’s area, may be extended an offer without prior written approval.
Other prohibited activities: An individual may not engage in activities with a member of his/her family that fall within the parameters of the Financial Procedures Manual Section 4205.390 Miscellaneous Payments to Individuals/Participant Payments. Examples of these prohibited activities include distribution of incentives, prizes and recognition awards. For a full list of prohibited practices, see the Financial Procedures Manual Section referenced above.
Applicants for employment at the university shall be required in the employment process to disclose the identity of any family member working at the university.
If an applicant has revealed information concerning a family member working at the university, this information will be analyzed by the hiring authority to determine whether employment in the position is prohibited, or whether prior approval is required before a position offer may be made to the applicant. If employment is prohibited, the applicant may not be offered the position. If prior approval is required, a Nepotism Review form signed by the appropriate vice president must be provided to Human Resources before the offer is extended to the candidate.
It is the responsibility of the hiring authority to ensure that each applicant has disclosed information about the applicant's family member(s) employed by the university. It is also the responsibility of the hiring authority to analyze this information to determine if the employment is prohibited or if a signed approval is required before extending an offer of employment.
It is the responsibility of the appropriate vice president to approve employment of an applicant who has a family member already employed by the university in the same college or assistant or associate vice president’s area. Signing an approval form is appropriate only when the signatory believes that the relationship between the current employee and the applicant will not disrupt or in any way impede the operations of the college or area under the AVP.
It is the responsibility of each applicant for employment to disclose family relationships with any current employee of the university.
Any applicant who violates this policy by failing to disclose the identity of a family member employed by the university is subject to disciplinary action up to and including immediate termination.
Any hiring authority who violates this policy by failing to obtain prior written approval to make an offer of employment to an individual who reveals the identity of a family member within the same college or AVP’s area of the division, is subject to sanctions.
Sanctions will be commensurate with the severity and/or frequency of the offense and may include termination of employment.
This policy does not apply to employees whose positions are reorganized or otherwise placed into the same division as the position held by a family member, as long as the two employees were hired into different divisions originally. However, the prohibition against having one family member serve as the supervisor or reviewer over another still applies. This policy does not apply to employees who were already employed by the university as of May 31, 2002. However, the prohibition against having family member serve as the supervisor or reviewer over another still applies.
The authority to interpret this policy rests with the President, and is generally delegated to the Director of Human Resources.
Previous version: January 2012
Approved by the President: April 2002