R911, Employment of Relatives

R911-1. Purpose: To prevent improper and perceived conflicts of interest or favoritism among employees arising out of family or personal relationships.

R911-2. References

2.1. Utah Code §53B-1-106, (Appointment of Commissioner’s Staff)

2.2. Policy and Procedures R141, Duties of the Commissioner of Higher Education

2.3. Policy and Procedures R907, Recruitment of Staff Members

2.4. Policy and Procedures R910, Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Employment.

R911-3. Definition

3.1. “Business Unit” means any organizational unit within the Board of Higher Education, the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education (“OCHE”), Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (“UHEAA”), or Utah Educational Savings Plan (“UESP”).

3.2. “Conflict of Interest” means a conflict between the private interests and the official or professional responsibilities of an employee.

3.3. “Relatives” means grandfathers, grandmothers, grandsons, granddaughters, fathers, mothers, step-fathers, step-mothers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, step-sons, step-daughters, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, first cousins, fathers-in-law, mothers-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, daughters-in-law, or sons-in-law and the spouses of any relative. Relatives also means an employee’s spouse or persons who are in a spouse-like relationship with an employee.

R911-4. Policy

4.1. Limitations on Hiring a Relative of an Employee: The Board of Higher Education, OCHE, UHEAA, and UESP may hire the relative of an employee except under the following circumstances:

4.1.1. If either the relative or the employee would supervise or have disciplinary authority over the other;

4.1.2. If the relative and the employee would work in the same business unit , whether or not one would supervise or have disciplinary authority over the other;

4.1.3. If either the relative or the employee would audit the work of or be in the same audit trail as the other;

4.1.4. If hiring the relative would create a conflict of interest within any unit of the Board of Higher Education or with the Board of Higher Education;

4.1.5. If the hiring of the relative could result in a conflict of interest with existing vendors of the Board of Higher Education or its units.

4.1.6. If the position of either the employee or relative is in Central Services.

4.2. Current Employees Who Become Relatives: Current employees who become relatives in violation of this policy will be allowed 90 days to comply with subsection 4.1 by either transferring to a different business unit or receiving a change of assigned duties.   If neither a transfer nor change of duties is practicable, then one employee must voluntarily resign or—if an employee does not volunteer to resign—be discharged.  In the event of a discharge, the supervisor shall use neutral criteria to resolve which employee will be discharged.

4.3. Restrictions on Relatives in Other Business Units: An employee who has a relative in a separate business unit shall not interfere with that relative’s employment, including communicating directly or indirectly with those in the relative’s supervisory chain or with coworkers in an attempt to influence any aspect of the relative’s employment.

4.4. Exceptions to the Policy: The Commissioner may grant exceptions to this policy only if the exception complies with applicable law, it is in the best interest of the Board of Higher Education to retain both relatives as employees, and there are proper procedures and safeguards in place to adequately mitigate adverse outcomes.  The appropriate associate commissioner and the human resources director shall review all requests for exceptions prior to submitting them to the Commissioner.

Adopted July 19, 1983, Amended December 14, 2007 and March 31, 2017.