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Policy 4.122
Nepotism & Personal Relationships in the Workplace

Responsible Official: VP for Human Resources
Administering Division/Department: Human Resources
Effective Date: January 27, 2015
Last Revision: January 27, 2015

Policy Sections:


 Emory University permits the employment of individuals from the same family or those who have a personal relationship. However, employment within the same direct reporting line is prohibited for individuals of the same family or for those who have a personal relationship. Additionally, to avoid a conflict of interest or an appearance of conflict of interest, no employee may initiate or participate in, directly or indirectly, decisions involving a direct benefit, e.g., initial employment or rehire, promotion, salary, performance appraisals, work assignments or other working conditions to those related by blood or marriage, membership in the same household, including domestic partners, or persons with whom employees have an intimate relationship.

The potential for conflict of interest may also exist in close personal relationships which involve other than family relationships. The University views such conflicts of interest as seriously as it does those involving family members or blood relatives.



Definition of Relationships

To avoid a conflict of interest or appearance of a conflict of interest, the definition of “relationships,” which is covered by this policy, should be interpreted very broadly.

 In considering whether a relationship falls within this policy, all employees are urged to disclose the facts if there is any doubt rather than fail to disclose in cases where a relationship exists or existed in the past.

 This policy applies to all types of employment, regular or temporary, full-time or part-time.

 All employees are responsible to raise potential issues to the attention of their supervisors. 

Consensual Romantic or Sexual Relationship

Conflict of interest also exists when there is a consensual romantic or sexual relationship in the context of employment supervision or evaluation. Therefore, no supervisor may influence, directly or indirectly, salary, promotion, performance appraisals, work assignments or other working conditions for an employee with whom such a relationship exists. Any supervisor involved in a consensual romantic or sexual relationship, in the context of employment supervision, must discuss the matter on a confidential basis with his or her own supervisor and with Employee Relations to assess the implications for the workplace and make arrangements to ensure that employment – related decisions are made in an appropriate and unbiased setting.

 Although both employees involved in a consensual relationship are individually responsible for disclosure, a supervisor's failure to report such a relationship will be regarded as a serious lapse in his or her management of the workplace and grounds for appropriate disciplinary action, including termination of employment (particularly in cases where bias or harassment has occurred in connection with a benefit). 



Report of Relationship

Any supervisor who receives the report that someone who reports to him or her is involved in a consensual romantic or sexual relationship with an employee he or she supervises, should consult with Employee Relations.  

 Supervisors should understand that even in a consenting relationship there are substantial risks of charges of sexual harassment or favoritism when supervision is involved.

Related Links

Contact Information

Associate VP, Human Resources   Del King  404- 727-7567   Dking2@emory.edu 

Revision History

No previous versions of this policy were found.