Nepotism | Practice Directive 101 | December 2001 Rev. 12/05

101.1 It is the policy of SFSU to seek for its Administrators, Instructional Faculty and Support Staff the best possible candidates through appropriate search procedures preceding each appointment and promotion. There shall be no bars to the appointment of immediate family members in administrative, faculty or staff employment categories, in the same or different units or departments so long as the following standards are met.


101.2 These guidelines apply to all staff and faculty covered by collective bargaining agreements, all employees in designated confidential positions, employees hired as administrators in the Management Personnel Plan (MPP) and those in excluded classifications, e.g., student assistants, work-study, special consultants, etc.

101.3 Where the provisions of this Practice Directive are in conflict with the Collective Bargaining Agreements reached pursuant to Chapter 12, (commencing with Section 3560) of Division 4 of Title I of the Government Code, the Collective Bargaining Agreements shall take precedence unless superseded by applicable law.


101.4 For the purposes of this Practice Directive, “immediate family member” is defined as a close relative including: parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, first cousin, spouse, registered domestic partner, step-parent, step-child, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, and by guardianship and/or adoption or a person residing in the immediate household except live-in household employees or roomers. Relatives of domestic partners shall be treated as relatives of spouses.

101.5 For the purposes of this Practice Directive, “indirect reporting relationship” is defined as two immediate family members working within the same “chain of command”, e.g., where the immediate family members may be an administrative support assistant and an Associate Vice President in the same division. Although there may be a supervisor and director between, the two immediate family members are in the same chain of command.


101.6 No SFSU employee shall vote, make recommendations or in any way participate in decisions about any personnel matter which may directly affect the selection, appointment, retention, tenure, compensation, promotion, termination, other employment status or interest of an immediate family member.

101.7 Generally, immediate family members, as defined in 101.4 (above) shall not be appointed in either a direct or indirect reporting/supervisory capacity to each other. When a situation arises, for example, promotion or reassignment, that results in a reporting relationship between immediate family members, supervisory responsibility shall be delegated elsewhere unless a specific exemption is granted. Consistent with applicable law, any such restriction in reporting or supervision shall not have the effect of denying any equal employment opportunity.

101.8 A written request for exemption, endorsed by the Dean/Director and approved by the Human Resources Officer and the Cabinet Officer, shall include a plan to ensure that personnel matters including evaluation, retention, tenure, promotion, wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment, will not be decided based on the relationship as an immediate family member. The plan shall include the following:

A) A provision that the Dean/Director or Cabinet Officer shall review all decisions on personnel matters;
B) Steps to alleviate any pressures toward favoritism that could occur as a result of supervising members of the same immediate family;
C) Procedures for investigation by the Dean/Director or Cabinet Officer of any concerns about conflicts of interest or favoritism involving members of the same immediate family.

101.9 The California State University is covered by the Financial Integrity and State Manager’s Accountability Act (FISMA, Government code 13400 et seq.), which requires separation of duties for financial transactions to reduce opportunities for fraud or collusion. Immediate family members as defined herein are considered one person for purposes of ensuring appropriate separation of duties. Immediate family members are not to both initiate and approve the same transactions, e.g. payroll transactions to appoint, report attendance, or otherwise generate pay checks; approval of requisitions or invoices to purchase goods or services; approval of reimbursements for travel, petty cash, or hospitality expenses. Exceptions require special written provisions, detailing mitigating internal controls that are endorsed by the Dean/Director and approved by the Fiscal Affairs Officer and Cabinet Officer. These requirements can be found in the State Administrative Manual (SAM, chapter 8080).

101.10 Any exception to this Practice Directive is at the discretion of the President.

Reference: HR-2004-18 (supersedes FSA 78-19)