Is Employer Nepotism Illegal

Is Employer Nepotism Illegal?

Boy (3-5) chairing business meeting

I get this question a lot. Can an employer favor a relative over you? Is nepotism illegal?

The simple answer is, no. Nepotism is not illegal. Your employer can fire you to hire their son, daughter, nephew or second cousin twice removed.

That being said, there are some circumstances where nepotism might be illegal:
  • Public Employer: While I don't know of any state that has a law prohibiting nepotism in the private workplace, many laws exist prohibiting nepotism at government entities.
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: If your company does business overseas and hires relatives of an overseas public official, they may be violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
  • Failure to Disclose: While nepotism isn't illegal under federal securities laws, it is illegal not to disclose any potential conflict of interest to shareholders. Failure to disclose might violate Sarbanes-Oxley.
  • Race Or National Origin Discrimination: If the company hires mostly relatives, they may be crossing the line into race or national origin discrimination. If they are turning down better qualified people of a different race or ethnicity, then hiring relatives, they might get crosswise with Title VII or state discrimination laws.
  • Marital Status Discrimination: If there's a no-married-couples policy, some companies make the mistake of making the woman leave when employees marry. Or maybe they just say the person of lowest rank has to go. A policy like that might discriminate against women.
Of course, many companies have policies prohibiting nepotism, or at least prohibiting relatives from hiring, promoting, supervising or firing relatives. If your boss violated that policy, then you might think about reporting them to HR. Some companies even have anonymous reporting lines that let you report violations of policy without giving your name. If you do report a violation that isn't illegal, you probably aren't legally protected against retaliation, so be very careful.    

The 10 College Majors With The Highest Starting Salaries

Electrical engineering majors start at $57K

Power engineer performing maintenance on fluid filled high voltage insulator
Electrical engineering is a potentially lucrative major.

By Peter Jacobs

Electrical engineering majors make the most money immediately after graduating college, with an average starting salary of $57,030, according to a recent study from Michigan State University.

The study comes from MSU's College Employment Research Institute, and charts the average starting salaries for new college graduates in a variety of majors.

According to the MSU study, the average starting salary among all new college graduates is $39,045. The lowest average starting salary - advertising - is $36,638.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the MSU list is dominated by engineering majors.

Check out the top 10 highest average starting salaries below (or click on one of the jobs to apply!).

Electrical Engineering - $57,030
Computer Engineering - $56,576
Mechanical Engineering - $56,055
Software Design - $54,183
Computer Programming - $54,065
Chemical Engineering - $53,622
Computer Science - $52,237
Civil Engineering - $51,622
Mathematics - $47,952
Construction - $45,591      

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