Policy Number: 134
Nepotism and Other Relationships
I. POLICY AND GENERAL STATEMENT
This policy addresses nepotism and other relationships that may damage The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston ("university") environment.
It is the policy of the university to prevent conflicts of interest and appearances of favoritism that result from the appointment, reappointment, and/or supervision of an employee by a relative. This policy extends to individuals hired as private contractors.
The university does not specifically prohibit consensual relationships between members of the university community. However, consensual relationships between individuals of the university community where one individual has actual or perceived power of authority over the other are viewed as potentially damaging to the university environment and are therefore strongly discouraged.
Examples of consensual relationships where one individual has actual or perceived power of authority over the other include, but are not limited to:
- A faculty member and a student who is enrolled in the faculty member’s course, who is enrolled in a program for which a course taught by the faculty member is a requirement, who is an advisee of the faculty member, or whose academic work is being supervised by the faculty member.
- An employee and a student if the employee is in a position to evaluate or otherwise influence the student’s education, employment, or participation in other university activities.
- A supervisor and an employee under the person’s supervision; division/department chair/head and a faculty member in the same division/department; an administrator and an employee in an office/department under that administrator’s direction.
- A tenured faculty member and an untenured faculty member if the tenured faculty member participates in peer recommendations about the untenured faculty member.
Relationship will not be a bar to honorary positions or to non-remunerative positions.
Close relative: the parent, step-parent, grandparent, child, step-child, brother or sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, spouse, grandchild, nephew, niece, great grandparent, or great grandchild of an employee and the spouse of the employee’s sister or brother or any spouse's relatives related to the spouse in the same degree as those previously mentioned with the exception of a great grandparent or a great grandchild.
Supervision: the exercise of authority or responsibility with regard to appointment, reappointment, promotion, managing performance, work assignments, salary administration, termination or other terms and conditions of employment.
A. Avoidance of Nepotism
No university employee may approve, recommend, or otherwise take action with regard to the appointment, reappointment, promotion, salary or supervision of a close relative as defined in this policy.
B. Disclosure Responsibility
Applicants for employment are required to fully disclose if a close relative is employed by the university at the time of employment. Employees are required to disclose if a close relative becomes employed by the university while the employee is employed by the university. Additionally, employees should disclose consensual relationships which may affect or could be perceived to affect the working or academic environment to the applicable supervisor or to the Office of Legal Affairs. If the relationship is with the supervisor, the disclosure should be made to the next level of management.
Faculty and administrative and professional employees are required to disclose any relationships to close relatives on the annual conflict of interest disclosure. Classified staff should report any relationships to close relatives to the Office of Legal Affairs. Additionally, such relationships should be disclosed to the employee’s supervisor. If the relationship is with the employee’s supervisor, the disclosure should be made to the next level of management.
The Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Operating and Financial Officer is authorized to request review and to take action when necessary to prevent relatives (whether by marriage or blood) from entering into a supervisor/supervisee relationship with one another.
Should two employees marry, they may not continue to hold positions of supervisor/supervisee relative to one another, beyond the end of the then current fiscal year. Every effort will be made to affect a transfer that will be mutually advantageous.
Students may disclose any such relationships to the student affairs office at their school.
C. Management Options
1. Limiting Applicant Pool
If an applicant for employment in a department is a close relative of another departmental employee, and the hire of the applicant would place him or her under the supervision of a close relative, the head of the hiring department or the recruiter may omit the applicant from those being considered for the available position. The recruiter must note the reason for excluding the applicant in the applicant tracking system.
2. Alternative Supervision
If an appointment, reappointment or promotion of a person places him or her under the supervision of a close relative, all actions with regard to the terms and conditions of the employment of the supervised employee, including the annual performance evaluation, shall be the responsibility of the next highest administrative supervisor.
The performance evaluation must be in writing and submitted for review and approval to the Chief Human Resources Officer for classified and management administrative and professional employees. In the case of faculty or academic administrative and professional employees, the performance evaluation shall be submitted for approval to the President or designee.
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