Man standing behind a board of people with intersecting lines between them

Employing Relatives or Members of Household

Public officials may not give opinions on or make decisions that would affect their relative’s employment. Public officials also may not directly supervise an employee who is a relative or member of the public official’s household.  This Includes:

  • Appointing, employing or promoting, firing or demoting
  • Interviewing, discussing, or debating the appointment, employment, promotion, firing or demotion

Example: A faculty member retired last year and their supervisor needed the position filled quickly. Rather than publicly posting the position, the supervisor contracted with the supervisor's sister. She had the basic qualifications for the position and wanted to work for UO. Meanwhile, several employees in the department were hoping to be considered for the position and planned to apply when it was posted. The position was not posted until twelve months later. By that time, the supervisor’s sister had acquired the experience to fulfill the job requirements. She was hired from a limited pool of applicants that included two long-term staff members.

Is this a problem? Yes. The supervisor bypassed the appropriate channels to fill an open position by contracting with a family member. This violates the Family Relationships and Employment Policy because the supervisor made a decision that directly impacted their relative’s employment. They also misused their official position for the financial gain of their sister. If the sister had been the best person for the job or had a unique skill required, the misuse of official position would not have been a problem, but the Family Relationships and Employment Policy would still prevent the employee from supervising their sister.

Example: An employee's job at UO requires them to hire companies to help with the maintenance of the university. Their daughter owns a janitorial service. They decide to hire their daughter because she offers the best service for the best price.

Is this a problem? Yes. This seems to fall within the prohibited use of official position rule. However, the but-for part of the test is missing. In this scenario, the daughter offers the best service for the best price. But-for the employee's position, she would still have received the contract; UO would have hired her anyway. Therefore, hiring her may not count as the prohibited use of official position for private financial gain. However, it would likely violate other ethics rules (such as conflicts of interest rules that require advanced written disclosure), and Family Relationships and Employment Policy .