Nepotism (Hiring of Relatives)

Policy Statement

Duke staff may not hire or supervise their relatives. Exceptions to this policy are made by the vice president of Human Resources for Duke University - or from his or her designee.

Policy Details

It is the intent of Duke that staff not be involved in decisions affecting the employment of individual members of their immediate or extended families. In exceptional cases where the relative clearly demonstrates to have unique and unusual skills necessary for the position and these skills are not readily available in the labor market, a waiver may be requested. When such conditions exist, a written request for a waiver must be submitted to the vice president of Human Resources (or to his or her designee) for approval prior to making an employment offer.

In cases where a waiver has been approved, an individual may be in a position to effect personnel actions (such as initial employment, retention, promotion, salary, work assignments, leaves of absence, etc.) affecting members of that staff member’s immediate and extended family. Prior authorization for these personnel actions must come from the staff member’s department head or the next higher level of supervision.

For the purpose of this policy, "immediate family" includes the spouse, same-sex partner, children, parents, brothers, sisters, step-parents, step-children, step-brothers, and step-sisters of staff. "Extended family" includes the grandparents, parents-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, aunts, uncles, grandchildren, and great-grandparents of staff.

In cases where spouses or same-sex partners are employed in the same department or unit, neither may serve as judge nor advocate for the other.

Staff and faculty may not employ their children or their spouse or same-sex partner to work for them through Duke - whether they are paid from Duke funds or grants. Spouses, same-sex spousal equivalents, or family members may be employed, however, as collaborators in subsidized research projects where such collaboration has been specifically approved by the sponsoring authority.

In some instances, Duke’s policy of preserving the confidentiality of records or other materials may make it inappropriate to have a member of the immediate or additional family of another staff member in a particular job at Duke. For example, it is usually inappropriate for someone to hold a job providing access to confidential records concerning the performance of a member of the staff member's immediate or additional family.

The conditions will also apply if two staff members become related through marriage after they have been employed by Duke.