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Nepotism and Relationships at Work

I. Purpose of Policy

This policy is intended to minimize the potential for actual or perceived conflicts of interest which may arise when a D-H employee and another D-H employee, officer, or Trustee who are in positions of inherently unequal authority also have a familial relationship, consensual romantic or personal intimate relationship, and/or or live together.

II. Policy Scope

This policy applies to the following persons at all Dartmouth-Hitchcock locations, unless a person is covered by a separate agreement: Physicians, Associate Providers, Non-Provider Staff, Temporary Staff, Per Diem/PRN Staff, Geisel (credentialed/privileged), Dartmouth College (credentialed/privileged), Volunteers, Travelers, Students, Externs, Geisel (non-credentialed/non-privileged) and Dartmouth College (non-cred/non-priv).

III. Definitions

Family Member: spouse, partner, parent, in-law parent, grandparent, sibling, child, cousin, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew or any other person, related by blood, marriage, or operation of law to a D-H employee, officer, or Trustee. Family members shall include step relations and in-laws.


Related Persons: D-H employees, officers, Trustees (hereinafter “employee”) who live together in the same household, regardless whether the relationship is platonic or otherwise, and/or D-H employees, officers or Trustees who have a romantic, intimate, or sexual relationship with each other, regardless of whether they live in the same household.


Persons of Inherently Unequal Positions of Authority: Persons are considered to be in positions of inherent unequal authority when one individual has the indirect or direct ability to influence the performance appraisal, benefits, schedule, assignment, salary, and/or career progress of the family member, or related person; or whose employment relationship to the family member or related person creates an actual or perceived conflict of interest as determined at D-H’s sole discretion.

Examples of such relationships include, but are not limited to: relationships between supervisors and their staff, between senior and junior faculty in the same department, between physician leaders and administrative partners, between physician leaders and nursing partners, between nursing partners and administrative partners, faculty and academic and/or non-academic staff within the same department, attending physicians and residents in the same program, and so forth. This list is provided only by way of example and shall not be considered to be exhaustive


IV. Policy Statement

D-H permits the hiring of a current employee’s family member or a related person when such person is the most qualified candidate for a position. However, in an effort to eliminate any actual or perceived conflicts of interest from arising in the workplace, D-H does not permit a current employee to be in a position of unequal authority over a family member or related person. As a result, D-H shall not hire, transfer, or promote any person if doing so will result in a current employee in a position of unequal authority to another.

When there is a change in circumstance during the course of employment that creates a conflict with this policy (e.g., colleagues become related as a result of marriage, dating, living together, or an employee is transferred resulting in an employee being in a position of unequal authority to another family member or related person), the employee with seniority must report the potential conflict of interest to his or her immediate manager or Employee Relations. Both affected family members or related persons must take steps to eliminate the potential or actual conflict, within a reasonable time period determined by D-H.The employees may work with their manager and/or Employee Relations to consider possible resolutions. If the employees are not able to eliminate the potential or actual conflict of interest in a manner acceptable to D-H, D-H has sole discretion to determine the appropriate resolution, including transfer or separation of one or both of the involved employees. At all times, the employee with senior authority to the other member must take responsibility for disclosing the relationship to his or her current direct supervisor.

Requests for exceptions to this policy, including situations in which one employee currently is in a position of unequal authority over a family member or related person must be made in writing to the managing employee’s next immediate manager or the Director of Employee Relations to review the request. Such request should identify how potential conflicts of interest are mitigated. The employees’ respective chief officer shall approve the request. Due to constantly changing circumstances, Dartmouth-Hitchcock may withdraw any exception at any time.


D-H Policy ID: 8242

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