Today many employers are lending a hand to struggling family members or friends by offering them employment opportunities. Normally nepotism (favoritism directed exclusively or mainly toward friends or relatives, regardless of merit) in the private sector is not illegal, and therefore, nobody has a cause of action against an employer for engaging in it. However, there are two circumstances in which engaging in nepotism can land an employer in trouble.
First, if an employer hires friends or relatives to the point where they fail to consider people of other races, creeds, sexes, or ages, they may be violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Secondly, if an employer creates workplace conditions that effectively force out an existing employee to make room to hire a relative, the employer may be liable, and therefore, must pay damages to the forced out employee.
These discrimination claims may arise when a private employer has six or more employees.
If you have any questions as to the legal implications of hiring a friend or relative, please contact an employment law attorney.
Image credit: pixabay Under Creative Commons license