What is nepotism and is it against the law?

Can a boss, whose son works directly for him, promote that son without informing the other employees that the position his son received was even available? A former HR employee said the son received a substatial pay raise with it too. This boss does not own the company either. Is this nepotism and is this against the law?

1 answer  |  asked Oct 18, 2007 11:17 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Gregory Gordillo
Nepotism not against the law in Ohio

Your question is a common one. Nepotism happens when an employer favors an individual because of a family tie to the individual. It is a form of discrimination. But all discrimination is not against the law. Nepotism alone is not against the law in Ohio.

In Ohio, certain forms of unlawful discrimination occur when the unlawful motive is mixed with a lawful motive. For example, if an employer treats Joe Employee different from Jane Employee by giving Joe Employee a raise not only because Joe is the son of the boss but also because Joe is a male, the employer has engaged in both lawful and unlawful discrimination. An employer lawfully discriminates by deciding that an employee should be favored because the employee is a familiy member as compared to other employees who are not family members and so gives the son a raise but not other employees. That is the employer's right. But an employer unlawfully discriminates when deciding that Jane Employee should not get a raise because Jane is female while the son gets a raise becaue the son is male. Being free from gender discrimination is the employee's right.

When motives are mixed --- that is an employer has relied upon both an unlawful and a lawful form of discrimination -- the employer has violated the law. Thus nepotism alone is not against the law in Ohio. But if nepotism is combined with another unlawful motive such as giving the son a pay raise because he is a male while refusing to give an equally or better qualified female employee a similar raise, then the gender discrimination is against the law even though the nepotism is not.

posted by Gregory Gordillo  |  Oct 19, 2007 10:24 AM [EST]

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