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Office of General Counsel Policies & Guidelines

Nepotism : P-090

Policy/Guideline Area

Personnel Guidelines

Applicable Divisions

TCATs, Community Colleges, Universities, System Office


The following guidelines are designed to facilitate the consistent application of the provisions of Board policy No. 5:01:00:06 on Nepotism. These guidelines supplement Board policy and are intended to serve as a reference document for all institutions.


  • 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". (T.C.A. § 8-31-102)


  1. General Statement
    1. State nepotism law 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 one relative is responsible for supervising the job performance or work activity of another relative.
    2. The provisions of this guideline are not to be construed to limit the hiring, promotion, or employment opportunities of any particular group of applicants.
  2. Application
    1. Tennessee Board of Regents policy on nepotism shall be applied as follows:
      1. The nepotism policy applies to any person who is employed as a full, part-time, student or temporary employee by a Tennessee Board of Regents institution.
      2. The nepotism policy does not apply to individuals hired prior to July 1, 1980, and shall not be retroactively applied; however, change in the status of employees hired prior to 1980 shall be governed by this policy.
      3. 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.
        1. Pursuant to this provision, a relative may serve an administrative function within the same institution, college or 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 a relative as defined by T.C.A. § 8-31-102.
        2. 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 an institution while he/she has a relative who is a faculty or staff member.
      4. The nepotism policy shall not be used or considered in the granting of tenure.
  3. Hiring
    1. 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.
    2. Prior to hiring any individual, the department wishing to hire the individual must conduct an analysis to assure compliance with state law.
  4. Remedies
    1. The institution may remedy any violation of this policy by voluntary transfer, or if an agreement cannot be reached, by involuntary transfer, from a unit or position, or by termination when appropriate.


TBR Policy No. 5:01:00:06. Guidelines issued May 21, 1987 TBR Presidents Meeting; May 19, 2009 Presidents Meeting.

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Mickey Sheen