Human Resources Policies


UMB Policy on Employment of Persons Having Familial or Close Personal Relationships to One Another

Human Resources   |   Approved July 1, 2012

Responsible VP/AVP

Dawn M. Rhodes, DBA, MBA

Revision History

1/13/2012; 1/18/12; 2/1/12; 2/22/12


This Policy permits, under stated conditions, persons in the same family or with close personal relationships to one another to be employed at the University, while promoting fairness, preventing conflicts of interest, and following the requirements of the State Ethics Law.

Policy Statement


A. Prospective University Personnel must disclose on the application for employment or other correspondence or documents submitted for employment any Familial or Close Personal Relationship between them and a potential or current University supervisor or subordinate.

B. University Personnel are responsible to disclose within 60 days a Familial or Close Personal Relationship with a supervisor or subordinate that develops during University employment.

C. Supervisors who become aware of a Familial or Close Personal Relationship that was not disclosed before employment of one of the persons in the Relationship, or that develops during employment, must report the Relationship to their own supervisors and to Employee/Labor Relations, Human Resource Services, to discuss and determine a proper course of action.


A. Persons in Familial or Close Personal Relationships with University Personnel:

1. Are eligible for employment at the University;

2. May not have a Supervisor/Subordinate Relationship within the immediate chain of command, with the other person in the Relationship; and

3. May not be an advocate or judge with regard to hiring or any conditions of employment such as work assignment, performance evaluation, promotion, discipline, termination, salary determination, leave approval, etc., for the other person in the Relationship.

B. The policy stated in Part III applies whether or not the Close Personal Relationship has been disclosed as required by III.

Exceptions to the Supervisor/Subordinate Relationship Prohibition

A. Exceptions to Part IV above may be requested on the basis of extremely limited circumstance such as:

1. Unique or unavoidable circumstances exist that require a Supervisor/Subordinate Relationship between persons in a Familial or Close Personal Relationship; or

2. Specialized qualifications or other factors for the benefit of the University that support the exception.

B. An exception is not approvable unless the State Ethics Law allows the relationship (as defined in the State Ethics Law) involved in the exception and any required conflict of interest disclosures, and/or exemptions required by other University policies or federal policies have been obtained.  The State Ethics Law prevents an employee’s participation in many matters relating to immediate family (spouse and dependent children) and “qualifying relatives”, defined by the Law as the spouse, parent, child, brother or sister of a State employee.

C. In cases not controlled by the State Ethics Law or other conflict of interest policies, an exception is not approvable unless administrative actions to minimize a conflict of interest can be instituted, such as:

1. Alternative or joint supervisory and/or reporting arrangements.

2. Additional oversight.

The following Procedures apply to requests for exceptions allowing a Supervisor/Subordinate Relationship:

1. A Dean or Vice President or designee (not an individual in the Familial or Close Personal Relationship) must submit a written request to the Associate Vice President (AVP) for Human Resource Services (HRS) providing a justification for hiring or retaining the person with a Familial or Close Personal Relationship in a Supervisor/Subordinate Relationship.

2. The AVP for HRS shall conduct a review of the request, and may consult the University conflict of interest officer, University Counsel, and the State Ethics Commission as required to obtain required information.

3. The AVP for HRS shall submit for decision his/her findings as to the exception and recommendations for any alternative administrative action to:

a. the Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance (SVPAF) for a Relationship having a staff member as a supervisor;

b. the Executive Vice President and Provost for a Relationship having a faculty member as a supervisor; or

c. the President for a Relationship having a Dean or Vice President as a supervisor.

4. The AVP for HRS shall advise the employing school/department of the final decision.

5. All exceptions require both parties to the Familial or Close Personal Relationship, their supervisor(s), and the appropriate Dean or Vice President to sign an “Agreement to Comply” with this Policy which sets forth the details of the approved supervisory arrangement.

6. If advice or approval of the Maryland State Ethics Commission is required before a specific employment situation may be approved, the University will assist the concerned University Personnel in seeking the Commission’s advice or determination.

Questions regarding this Policy and its application should be directed to Employee/Labor Relations, Human Resource Services.


A. “Familial or Close Personal Relationship” or “Relationship” includes, but is not limited to, one of the following relationships between a member of University Personnel and another member of University Personnel:

1. spouse or domestic partner;

2. children of employee, spouse, or domestic partner;

3. parent and parent-in-law of employee, spouse or domestic partner;

4. brother and brother-in-law of employee, spouse or domestic partner;

5. sister and sister-in-law of employee, spouse or domestic partner;

6. grandparents or grandchildren of employee, spouse, or domestic partner;

7. aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces of employee, spouse or domestic partner;

8. sons-in-law and daughters-in-law of employee, spouse or domestic partner; or,

9. members of the same household.

B. “Domestic partnership” means a relationship between two individuals who:

1. are at least 18 years old;

2. are not related to each other by blood or marriage within four degrees of consanguinity under civil law rule;

3. are not married or in a civil union or domestic partnership with another individual; and

4. agree to be in a relationship of mutual interdependence in which each individual contributes to the maintenance and support of the other individual and the relationship, even if both individuals are not required to contribute equally to the relationship.

C. “Supervisor/Subordinate Relationship” means a work relationship in which one person with a Familial or Close Personal Relationship reports to another person in that relationship, or otherwise participates directly in making employment and/or work-life decisions regarding the other person in that Relationship.

D. “University Personnel” means faculty, Regular and Contingent staff employees, graduate assistants and fellows.

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