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407 Conflict of Interest - Nepotism


RATIONALE:  The University hiring process must comply with state and federal law, all University policies, procedures and legal obligations, and result in a hire that best meets the requirements of the position. Hiring managers must disclose to the respective human resource office (AHR, UHR, Student Employment, Graduate Study) the name and relationship of the proposed new hire to any current employees, and receive pre-approval from the President to hire Relatives as defined in this policy.


I.          General Statement of Policy

In accordance with general University policies, the criteria for employment, promotion and remuneration at Oakland University shall be based on legally appropri­ate qualifications, performance, contractual agree­ments, policies, and procedures.  In order to insure the fair application of these criteria, it is important to avoid actual or potential conflicts of interest caused by the relationship of one employee to another.  The relationship of one employee to another employee or to an ap­pli­cant for em­ploy­ment must not consti­tute an advan­tage with respect to em­ploy­ment or working­­-­­­­­­­­­condi­tions at the University.

Conflicts of interest may arise when a Personal Relationship places an employ­ee in a position where employ­ment responsibilities cannot be exercised without affecting private interests, thereby possibly denying the public of impartial performance of duties.  In order to remove this poten­tial barrier to equitable decision making, this policy is established regarding the em­ployment and assignment of related employees.

II.         Scope of Policy

This policy pertains to all employees (full-time, part-time, permanent, tempo­rary and student) and to all applicants for employment.

III.        Definitions

A.    The term "Personal Relationship" means the rela­tion­ship between two persons by Blood, Adoption, or Marriage to the degree set forth below:

Blood or Adoption:  parent, child, brother, sister, grandpar­ent, grandchild, half-brother or half-sister, or other relative by blood, marriage or legal adoption

Marriage:  spouse, father-in-law or mother-in-law, brother-in-law or sister-in-law, step-child, or son-in-law or daughter-in-law.

This definition is not to be construed as all-inclusive.  In an individ­ual case, other family or non-family close Personal Relationships, in­clud­ing those relationships comparable to marital status, could result in decisions not based on qualifications, performance, and merit.  Such relationships are "Personal Relationships" and are covered by this policy.

B.    The term "Relative" means a person with a Personal Relationship as defined above.

IV.       General Provisions

A.    University personnel shall not initiate, partici­pate in, or influence any employment decision involving an individual where there is a Personal Relationship.  Employment decisions include deci­sions on initial employ­ment, retention, pro­mo­tion, salary, leave-of-absence, disci­pline, dis­charge, or any other matter relating to the em­ploy­ment relationship.

B.    No individual shall be hired or otherwise placed (1) under the admin­is­trative supervision of a Relative, or (2) in a position where the supervi­sor of that position is part of a reporting line containing a Relative of the individual.  No individual shall be hired or other­wise be placed as the direct or indirect administrative supervi­sor of a Relative.  For the purpose of this poli­cy, a faculty chairperson or faculty coordinator is considered the administrative supervisor of faculty members in the depart­ment or area.

C.   Student employment is covered by this policy, with the exception that a student is not peremp­torily prohibited from working for a related supervi­sor in those cases where the student em­ployment:  (1) is part of a financial aid plan, and (2) is directly related to the student's specific academic pursuits.  The following are examples of this exception:  an undergraduate music major is employed to maintain the musical scores library; a graduate chemistry student is employed to assist in the supervi­sion of an un­dergradu­ate chemis­try laboratory.

In these instances, special arrangements or accom­moda­tions must be made by the hiring department and the divi­sional Vice President to insure that all employ­ment-related non-ministerial decisions are reviewed by a supervisor who is not a Relative.

V.        Changes in Employment or Relational Status Which Cause Conflict with this Policy

When a change occurs in an employee's status by promo­tion, transfer, change in job description or change in relational status (through Marriage, for exam­ple) that results in a supervisory relationship in violation of this policy, the following action shall occur:

A.    The appropriate University officials, including either the appropri­ate Vice President or the AVP University or AVP Academic Human Resources shall review the circum­stances to determine if an equita­ble ad­just­ment in assign­ment or transfer can be arranged.

B.    Except when a decision to the contrary is made by the President under Section VI. below, if an appropriate accommodation cannot be made (for example, due to the unavailability of a position for which either party is qualified, or an in­ability to develop an appro­priate superviso­ry reporting relationship with another party), one of the parties must cease active employment with the University.

VI.       Special Exception to the Policy

When the President determines that it would be in the best interest of the University, the President may approve indi­vidual exceptions to this policy for persons who are Relatives, but only when:

A.    The interests of other employees are not prejudiced by the excep­tion; and

B.    All recommendations or decisions made by one Relative about the other Relative are subject to review and approval either by an unrelated super­visor or by another University employee designated to perform this function.

Any approval of an exception shall be documented in writing and shall specify the reasons for the exception.


DEFINITIONS:     See above.

PROCEDURES:     See above.

RELATED POLICIES AND FORMS:     See Oakland University Board of Trustees “Conflict of Interest Policy in the Appointment of Related Employees”, dated August 5, 1993.



12/14/2011 3:55 PM
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