The California State University seeks the most qualified candidates for faculty, administration and staff. There are no bars to the appointment of immediate family members in the same or different departments; however; no employee shall participate in any personnel matter which may directly affect the employment status of an immediate family member.  Furthermore, no employee shall participate in any personnel matter which may directly affect the employment status of an immediate family member.

Nepotism & Conflict of Interest in Employment:

California State University, Northridge and its employees are committed to the principle of objective, fair and equitable treatment of all employees. Accordingly, it is crucial that the actions of university employees engender an atmosphere that is free of both actual and apparent conflicts of interest that compromise this principle. Conflicts of interest should be avoided if possible, and otherwise disclosed and managed.

A conflict of interest in employment arises when the university or any auxiliary organization employs two related individuals (see below) and:

  1. One of these individuals is responsible for or participates in making decisions or recommendations regarding the employment status of the other employee; or
  2. there is a direct reporting line between them; and
  3. the relationship between the individuals would make it difficult for the employee with the decision-making responsibility to be objective; or
  4. it might appear to a reasonable person that the employee with decision-making responsibilities might not be objective.

The term “related individuals” includes, but is not limited to:

  1. relationships by blood, adoption, marriage, or domestic partnership: partner, parent, child, sibling, first cousin, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, spouse, brother- or sister-in-law; father- or mother-in-law, son- or daughter-in-law; step-parent, or step-child; and
  2. romantic and/or sexual relationships or intense personal friendships, or significant business relationships.

No conflict of interest exists if the individual with decision-making responsibility plays no role in decision-making processes involving the other individual, or if the decision making is limited to routine approvals.

The dean or vice president, having primary responsibility for approval of employment-status decisions regarding the related individuals, also has the responsibility for determining whether a conflict of interest in employment exists.

  1. The employee with decision-making responsibilities notifies the appropriate administrator of the possible conflict of interest.
  2. The appropriate administrator then develops a management plan. The development of a management plan itself should not involve the participation of the related individuals.
  3. The management plan either removes the individual with the decision-making responsibility from those decision-making processes that affect the employment status of the other related individual, or describes how the reporting relationship will be managed to ensure objective, fair and equitable treatment of all employees. If the plan calls for managing the reporting relationship, it will include:
  • Sound institutional reasons for creating or maintaining the reporting relationship between the two related individuals;
  • Provisions for objective decision making;
  • Creating and maintaining an atmosphere of equity and fairness;
  • Providing consistency in the treatment of employees; and
  • Allowing for the effective and efficient operation of the unit(s) in which related individuals are employed.
  • If the conflict of interest would result from a hiring decision, then the hiring process itself should be included in the management plan.
  1. The management plan shall be reviewed by the appropriate unit management.
  2. The management plan shall be submitted to the Office of Human Resources.
  3. A Human Resources representative will review the proposed management plan and assess the plan’s effectiveness against the criteria in item (b). The Human Resources representative may recommend modifications to the proposed management plan or return it to the administrator to revise.

If a conflict of interest in employment is occasional or irregular, it is recommended that the person with the decision-making responsibility write a letter excusing him/herself from any employment-related decisions pertaining to the other individual. For example, a person with decision-making responsibility who serves on a Search and Screen Committee would excuse him/herself from participating further in committee activities if a related individual (using the above definition) applied for the position.

Form 700 is available online:  

For more information: