Tulane Policy on Nepotism

Tulane University's standards for employment decisions such as hiring, promoting, reappointing, evaluating, awarding salary and terminating employees are based on qualifications for the position, ability and performance. The University attempts to avoid favoritism, the appearance of favoritism and conflicts of interest in employment decisions and reserves the right to take action when relationships or associations of employees impact its mission. It is against University policy for an employee to supervise a relative or to work in positions that have an audit or control function over a relative except in circumstances as indicated below.

The employment of relatives is permissible if the following general principles are applied. For purposes of this policy, "Relative" means a connection between persons by blood, marriage, adoption, domestic partnership, or other personal relationship including co-habitation.

Employment of Relatives in the same unit or department or under the same supervisor is authorized only with the prior written approval of the head of the unit or department and the Office of the Provost for faculty members on the uptown campus, Office of the Chancellor for faculty members of the Medical Center or the Office of Human Resources for all staff members, as appropriate. In addition, Relatives should not participate in roles which have the potential for influencing employment decisions.

General Principles: 

  1. To avoid possible conflicts of interest, any dean, director, department head, chairperson, supervisor or participant in peer or administrative review procedures who is a Relative of an employee or job applicant must not participate either formally or informally in decisions (including rendering advice on decisions) on personnel matters affecting the Relative, including, but not limited to, decisions to hire, retain, promote or determine salary.
  2. In cases where an employee would have primary responsibility for supervision, evaluation of, or assignment of duties to a Relative, an appropriate individual must be designated by a higher level administrator (e.g., dean, director, department head, provost, vice president, president) to perform the functions of such employee in decisions to hire, retain, promote, assign duties or set the salary of the individual "related" to the employee.

  3. Within the limitations set forth above, individuals "related" to other Tulane University employees have the general rights extended to employees in comparable positions. For example, a faculty member has the right to serve on a departmental peer review committee even thought a Relative will be considered by the committee. The faculty member, however, would not participate in the review of the Relative. However, this policy has no effect upon the administration of employee benefit plans and creates no contract rights to employees.
  4. Supervision and evaluation procedures, even when altered as described above, should ensure comparable treatment of employees.
  5. In circumstances which have the potential for the conflicts of interest referenced in item #1 above, individuals have the responsibility for disclosing that a conflict of interest may exist to the dean, director, department head or other relevant administrator prior to making any employment decisions. The specifics of the potential conflict do not have to be provided.

Decisions about individual cases should be made on the basis of these principles. In cases where the application of a principle is disputed, the administrator at the next level may be asked to assist in resolution. If resolution cannot be achieved, an employee can follow the established procedure for filing a grievance. The President shall have final approval regarding application of the general principles to particular cases. Not every relationship that can create favoritism or the appearance of favoritism can be listed here. Whenever an employee enters into a relationship with another employee, s/he should ask whether the appearance of nepotism or whether an audit or control function may be compromised.


For problems with this page, please email the webmaster

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000