816  Nepotism

Approved by President
Effective Date: June 5, 2017
Responsible Division: Business and Finance
Responsible Office:  Human Resource Services
Responsible Officer:  Assistant Vice President, Human Resource Services

I.  Purpose

The State nepotism law, T.C.A. § 8-31-101, et seq., applies to Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU or University) and is designed to prevent occurrences whereby relatives who are employees of the State are in a direct supervisory line with respect to each other. In order to guard against these practices, the State prohibits governmental employees who are relatives from being placed within the same line of supervision where a relative is responsible for supervising the job performance or work activity of another relative.

II.  Applicability

A.  This policy applies to any person who is employed as a full-time, part-time, student, or temporary employee.

B.  This policy does not apply to individuals hired prior to July 1, 1980, and shall not be retroactively applied, provided that the University takes appropriate action to ensure that employees neither initiate nor participate in University decisions involving a direct benefit (retention, promotion, salary, leave, etc.) to a relative. However, change in the status of employees hired prior to 1980 shall be governed by this policy.

C.  This policy shall be applied in a non-discriminatory manner to ensure that its implementation does not adversely affect employees of one sex over those of the opposite sex.

III. Definition  

Relative. Under T.C.A. § 8-31-102 and for the purposes of this policy, a relative is defined as a parent, foster parent, parent-in-law, child, spouse, brother, foster brother, sister, foster sister, grandparent, grandchild, son-in-law, brother-in-law, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, or other family member who resides in the same household.

IV.  General

The employment of relatives is permitted; however, no employee shall participate in the process of review, recommendation, and/or decision making in any matter concerning hiring, opportunity, promotion, salary, retention, or termination of a relative as herein defined.

Pursuant to this provision, a relative may serve an administrative function within the same division, college, school, department, or academic unit, so long as the duties do not require, or include participation in, the process of review, recommendation, and/or decision making in any matter concerning hiring, opportunity, activities, promotion, salary, retention, or termination of relatives as defined by T.C.A. § 8-31-102.

An administrator shall not make employment decisions and/or recommendations which impact a relative individually; however, the policy does not prohibit an administrator who does not otherwise violate the nepotism policy from making recommendations that pertain to all faculty and/or staff members at the University while he/she has a relative who is a faculty or staff member.

V.  Hiring

A.  In searching for qualified candidates for a new or vacated position, persons responsible for recruitment shall evaluate each individual on his/her merits, without consideration of their relationship to another employee.

B.  Prior to hiring any individual, the department wishing to hire the individual must conduct an analysis to assure compliance with state law.

VI.  Remedies

The University may remedy any violation of this policy by the voluntary transfer of one of the employees within MTSU. If transfer alternatives are available, the employees shall be given the opportunity to select among the available alternatives. If an agreement cannot be reached, the University may involuntarily transfer one of the employees from a unit or position or may resolve the violation by termination when appropriate.

Forms:  none.

Revisions: none.

Last Reviewed: June 2024.

References: T.C.A. § § 8-31-101, et seq.; 8-31-102.