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Conflict of Interest in Employment

Policy

Applies to: All University Employees*
(* Includes all Full-Time, Part-Time, Temporary and On-Call Support Staff; Faculty and Academic Staff; Executive Managers; Graduate Assistants; and Student Employees.)

Standards for hiring, promotion, reappointment, evaluation, working conditions, responsibilities, salary and termination for all employees at Michigan State University are based on ability, qualifications for the position, and performance. Relationship to another individual employed by the University shall not constitute a bar to hiring, promotion or reappointment; provided, however, that no employee shall be under the direct supervision or control of a "relative." Employment of "relatives" in the same unit or department or under the same supervisor is authorized only with the prior written approval of the head of the unit or department and the Office of the Provost or the Office of Human Resource Services, as appropriate. In addition, "relatives" should not participate in roles which have the potential for influencing employment decisions, e.g., peer review.

General requirements:

  1. No employee shall be assigned to a unit or department under the direct supervision or control of a "relative" without prior authorization.
  2. Employment of "relatives" in the same unit or department or under the same supervisor may be authorized only with the prior written approval of the unit administrator and the Associate Provost for Academic Human Resources or the Director of Human Resource Services, as appropriate. A Conflict of Interest in Employment form should be completed by the requesting unit.
  3. Preferential treatment will not be given to "relatives" of employees. Standards for hiring, promotion, reappointment, evaluation, working conditions, responsibilities, salary and termination for all employees must be based on ability, qualifications for the position, and performance.

General guidelines:

  1. A relationship between individuals or "relatives" is defined as a connection between persons by blood, marriage, adoption, domestic partnership, or other personal relationship in which objectivity might be impaired.
  2. At least two levels of supervision should separate "relatives" employed in the same unit. However, more levels of supervision may be necessary if objectivity is impaired.
  3. Only one form needs to be completed for two "relatives" in the same unit.
  4. A "relative" should not approve travel or expenditures or participate in employee review/evaluation.

Procedure

Department:

  1. Completes the Conflict of Interest in Employment form when a conflict of interest arises.
  2. Returns the completed form to Human Resources, 110 Nisbet.
  3. Annually reviews the conflict of interest and sends an updated form as necessary. For example, new forms are completed for changes in supervision, changes in position, etc.

MSU Human Resources:

  1. Reviews the form, contacts department for any clarifying questions, and approves the form.
  2. Scans and indexes the signed form under both employee names.

For questions or clarifications please contact: MSU Human Resources  (telephone 517-353-4434, e-mail solutionscenter@hr.msu.edu).

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