Office of the President

Revisions to Nepotism Policy; Supercedes EM 02-009; Superceded by EM 09-008

Executive Memorandum 05-016; Superceded by EM 09-008 October 19, 2005

From: Paul J. Zingg, President

Subject: Revisions to Nepotism Policy; Supercedes EM 02-009; Superceded by EM 09-008


It is the policy of the University to seek for its administrators, instructional faculty, and support staff the best possible candidates through appropriate search procedures. The following guidelines are established to insure fair and equal treatment of employees and applicants while minimizing situations that create potential for adverse impact on supervision, safety, security, or morale or involve a conflict of interest. While the University recognizes that the employment of close relatives within an organization creates a potential for favoritism or undue hardship, the University is also aware that a rule excluding close relatives of current employees from employment may deprive the University of qualified, capable employees and potentially violate equal opportunity laws.


No CSU, Chico employee shall vote, make recommendations, or in any way participate in decisions about any personnel or budgetary matter which may directly affect the selection, appointment, evaluation, retention, tenure, compensation, promotion, work assignment, termination, other employment status, or interest of a close relative. The term "close relative" as used in these guidelines is defined as follows:

  • Parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, first cousin, spouse, registered domestic partner2 , step-parent, step-child, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, and by guardianship and/or adoption or a person residing in the immediate household except live-in household employees or roomers.
  • Relatives of domestic partners shall be treated as relatives of spouses.

CSU, Chico employees are required to notify the Vice Provost for Human Resources of the existence of other university employees who are their close relatives as defined above and are in positions which may result in the violation of the above policy. Such notification shall occur upon hiring and when any such relationship develops during the course of employment. Questions about whether a particular situation violates this policy can be directed to the Vice Provost for Human Resources. This policy does not apply to decisions that do not uniquely affect the close relative.


In each of the following circumstances, special written provisions must be prepared for review and approval by the head of the organizational unit (e.g. , Dean or Director) before an individual may be appointed:

  • If the individual is to be assigned a position under the supervision or control of a close relative who has or may have a direct effect on the individual’s progress or performance; or
  • If the individual is to be assigned to work for the same immediate supervisor as another close relative.
These special written provisions shall include a plan to ensure that personnel matters including evaluation, retention, tenure, promotion, wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment will not be decided based upon the relationship as a close relative. The plan should provide that the head of the organizational unit is to review all decisions on personnel matters. In those cases where related employees will be working for the same immediate supervisor, the plans should include steps to be taken to alleviate any pressures toward favoritism that could occur as a result of supervising close relatives. The head of the organizational unit shall be responsible for investigating concerns about conflicts of interest or favoritism involving close relatives.

The Vice Provost for Human Resources or designee shall make available to any affected party the written provisions that have been approved to cover the situations described herein. No confidential information will be released during these disclosures. Hiring actions that involve close relatives, as defined by this policy, require consultation with Human Resources. Any individual affected by an alleged nepotism situation may pursue the matter by presenting his or her circumstances to the Director of Employment Practices for informal negotiation. If not resolved, the individual may file a grievance.

  • It shall be a violation of these guidelines and of university policy for an employee to initiate or participate in institutional decisions involving direct benefit to a close relative. A nonexclusive list of impermissible involvement includes decisions on appointment, retention, promotion, salary, evaluation, leaves of absence, and scheduling of work assignments.
  • If a nepotic situation occurs and is not otherwise resolved, the appropriate administrator shall take prompt and reasonable measures to rectify the circumstances. Reasonable measures shall include consideration of the rights of all parties, resulting in minimal disruption to the unit while simultaneously preventing the controlling party from directly participating in employment status decisions of his/her relative. Under no circumstances shall a nepotic circumstance continue un-remedied longer than is reasonable as determined by the Director of Employment Practices. Resolution of each case shall be handled on a case-by-case basis.
  • This policy also applies to persons whose marital status changes during employment or when either person's position responsibilities change, either of which may result in an employee having direct control over the employment status of his or her close relative. In such cases, the appropriate administrator shall take prompt and reasonable measures to rectify the situation as described in #2 above.

1 Adopted from HR 2004-18, Revised Policy on Nepotism, CSU Office of the Chancellor, June 28, 2004

2 See definition of domestic partner for purposes of health benefits in Div. 2.5, Sec. 297 of the Family Code of California.