University Policies
Policy Contact
Director, Recruitment and Staffing Operations Email 401-863-1785

Employment of Relatives Policy

Policy No. Issue Date Effective Date

1.0 Policy Purpose

This policy establishes the guidelines and reporting requirements for employment of relatives at Brown. 

2.0 To Whom the Policy Applies

This policy applies to all current and future University staff and their Family members seeking employment at Brown. 

3.0 Policy Statement

The University is committed to a policy of employment and advancement on qualifications and merit and does not discriminate in favor of or in opposition to the employment of relatives. However, when two Family members or persons living in the same household work at Brown, one must not supervise, direct work, evaluate work, or influence the evaluation of the work of a Family member. Additionally, one Family member cannot be responsible for making decisions in personnel matters regarding another member of the same Family or household, such as the hire, promotion, retention, compensation, assignment of work, evaluation, or other conditions of employment.

The University reserves the right to reject a job applicant who is a Family member to another Brown employee or to reassign or transfer an employee in the event that the hire, promotion, or transfer of another employee would result in one being able to exercise direct or indirect control over the working conditions or salary of a member of their Family or household. All decisions affecting any aspect of a relative's employment (e.g., transfer, promotion, compensation, involuntary termination, position elimination, or layoff) must be made by disinterested (i.e. non-family or household member) and qualified supervisory personnel chosen by and acting under the direction of the appropriate senior officer and University Human Resources.

4.0 Definitions

For the purpose of this policy, the term below has the following definition:


A spouse, domestic partner, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild (as well as in-laws and step parent, child, sibling, grandchild), guardian and ward or member of one’s household.

5.0 Responsibilities

All individuals to whom this policy applies are responsible for becoming familiar with and following this policy. University supervisors are responsible for promoting the understanding of this policy and for taking appropriate steps to help ensure compliance with it.

Brown Employees: Brown employees must be sensitive to the possibility of a conflict of interest existing in the employment of members of their Family. Employees should exercise caution to ensure that no conflict of interest or potential for conflict of interest occurs.  If an applicant being interviewed is a member of the Immediate Family of a current employee, the employee must notify the hiring supervisor and University Human Resources.

University Human Resources: Provide guidance to the hiring manager and department on how to effectively manage potential conflicts of interest for Family members who are applicants to Brown and/or working within the same department.

Hiring Supervisor: The Hiring Supervisor must exercise sound judgment when a Family member of an employee is an applicant for employment.

Senior Officer: Senior Officers within the hiring department are responsible for ensuring there is no conflict of interest in the employment of Family members within their organization. 

6.0 Consequences for Violating this Policy

Failure to comply with this and related policies is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension without pay, or termination of employment or association with the University, in accordance with applicable (e.g., staff, faculty, student) disciplinary procedures. 

7.0 Related Information

This policy is not a legal document. This policy does not confer a term of employment, nor is the language intended to establish a contract of employment, express or implied, between any employee and Brown University. The University reserves the right to change, amend or terminate any of its human resources policies at any time for any reason.

Brown University is a community in which employees are encouraged to share workplace concerns with University leadership. Additionally, Brown’s Anonymous Reporting Hotline allows anonymous and confidential reporting on matters of concern online or by phone (877-318-9184).

The following information complements and supplements this document. The information is intended to help explain this policy and is not an all-inclusive list of policies, procedures, laws, and requirements.

7.2 Related Procedures


7.3 Related Forms

7.4 Frequently Asked Questions


7.5 Other Related Information


Policy Owner and Contact(s)

Policy Owner: Vice President of University Human Resources

Policy Approved by: Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration

Contact Information:

Director, Recruitment and Staffing Operations Email 401-863-1785

Policy History

Policy Issue Date:

Policy Effective Date:

Policy Update/Review Summary:

No changes. Previous policy version superseded by this policy:

  • Employment of Relatives (20.012), revision date, January 30, 2019