Giving preferential treatment to a relative in the workplace may be considered nepotism. Public Officers Law § 73 prohibits State employees from:
- participating in any decision to hire, promote, discipline, or discharge a relative.
- awarding contracts to a relative or investing public funds in any security in which a relative has a financial interest.
Who is covered under the nepotism restrictions?
- Statewide elected officials
- Legislative members and employees
- Officers and employees of New York State agencies (including departments, boards, bureaus, divisions, commissions, and councils) (*other than unpaid and per diem officers of those entities) and,
- Members, directors, and employees of NYS public authorities and public benefit corporations (*other than unpaid and per diem members and directors of such entities)
- Unpaid and per diem officers are excluded from Public Officers Law § 73; however, they are still bound by the conflict of interest rules found in Public Officers Law § 74.
Things to consider
Did you know that any person living in your household is considered a relative under the nepotism restriction? Public Officers Law § 73(1)(m) defines a relative as:
Any person living in the same household as the covered individual or any person who is a direct descendant of that covered individual's grandparents or the spouse of such descendant.
JCOPE Recommended Best Practice
Recuse yourself from any personnel decisions that involve a family member or a close personal friend.
The Joint Commission on Public Ethics periodically releases Ethics Reminders. Each reminder is a brief and easy to understand synopsis of the laws and rules under the Commission’s jurisdiction. Ethics Reminders are issued to assist those subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction in understanding and complying with their obligations under the law.