Company policy against hiring relatives..is it fair?

@JenInTN (27545)
United States
June 10, 2011 7:04pm CST
I have worked for this factory now for several years. I started out there like everyone else and am now in a frontline management position. There are a couple of policies that have been in place since I came there that I have pondered. One of them is against hiring relatives. Husbands or wives...sisters and brothers..none of these are allowed to be employed there at the same time. On one hand, I can see the reasoning. Arguments, jealousy, and favortism might be a few to justify the rule. On the other hand, there have been people..good people...who have met and fell in love there. They wanted to be married but under the policy, one of them would have to quit. How would one decide if they were both in high paying postions..especially with the way things are now. I know it's not appropriate to be lovey dovey at work..but what if they worked different shifts or were in different departments? I am actually thinking of one couple at work that have been together for over 5 years. They desperately want to be married. I know the lady looked for another job for a while but I also know that our particular facility is one of the higher paying jobs in this area. I feel bad for them but there are things about the policy that makes sense. What do you think about the policy? Do you see any ups and/or downs? Are there any experiences that you would like to share about working with a relative or partner? Is it fair?
8 people like this
26 responses
@ANTIQUELADY (36468)
• United States
11 Jun 11
gOOD morning, Jen. Good discussion. I know alot of companoes have this policy & i can see the good & bad in it. I think having a good job nowadays is a blessing. I'm sure the couple that want to get married have all the perks of marriage except the name change.Knowing what i know now i would not quit a good job just to have my name changed. Of course i will admit i'm pretty cynical about marriage to start with, lol. Have a good weekend.
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
11 Jun 11
Hi jo! I have a thing in my head about marriage too. It has been with me for a long time. I might have to start a discussion about what I think about it one day and how it has affected my life..lol. I was actually in a 5 year relationship with someone I worked with there. He's not there anymore but I have to say that dating someone I worked with was the worst mistake I have ever made. What's even worse than that...is that I already knew it..I have always had two rules for myself. Never date a man that I work with and never date a man with hair longer than mine...Jo...I have broke both of these rules I couldn't have quit my job then even if I had wanted to. For one..I made more than he did and I wasn't even in management then. I had my children to think about and there was no way that I was going to take the chance of them doing without...medical insurance..etc. I can see the reasons for the policy being in place and the reasons why people aren't willing to give up a good job...been there. Thanks for responding and have a great weekend!
1 person likes this
@ANTIQUELADY (36468)
• United States
11 Jun 11
U are not alone when it comes to breaking rules. Guess i i haven't missed a one . lol.
@bingskee (5235)
• Philippines
11 Jun 11
i think it makes sense not to hire relatives. but as to disallowing marriage between two employees, that is not fair. that part must be changed and thus allow these couples to marry. after all, they started as strangers and is not related whatsoever when they first landed the organization. there has to be someone to bring this matter to grievance.
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
11 Jun 11
Hi bingskee! Love is a sneaky thing and the people that work where are work are most all really great people. It is a little unrealistic to think that no one would ever fall in love. I am thinking of investigating it a little and seeing what I can come up with. I can see there might be some issues with jealousy or favoritism..but that doesn't mean that everyone would be that way. The couples that I am sad for have been dating for over 5 years now and they have never acted any way but professional at work. Thanks for sharing your opinion.
@celticeagle (124393)
• Boise, Idaho
11 Jun 11
I have a whole gambit of thoughts with this question in mind. I wonder if sometimes the superior who made these rules had personal occurences or office occurences that made them make it a rule. I also wonder if due to the job market right now if that law couldn't be changed or modified. I do see both sides. And now days lving together is sometimes best because of the marriage tax laws and so forth. I can see alot that justifies the rule and alot that justifies a change in the rule. But how does a person change policy? Rules aren't always fair.
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
11 Jun 11
Well...those are great thoughts...there had to be a reason for the policy. The thing that makes me wonder is the fact it has not always been in place. It apparently went in place just before I was hired. There is a mother and daughter that work there but because they were both hired before the policy..they were grandfathered in I guess. I would like to know what caused the policy.
1 person likes this
@celticeagle (124393)
• Boise, Idaho
11 Jun 11
And that is what I was wondering when i said that perhaps a superior had made rule due to a person occurence. I would put my PI cap on and talk to some of the oldsters and gossips there and see if I couldn't find out what the story is.
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
11 Jun 11
Great idea..I think I know someone I could bring it up to that has been there since the place opened the doors. There are a lot of people that have questioned the policy throughout the years..but nothing has really been done. I think I will put the PI cap on
1 person likes this
@choybel (5051)
• Philippines
11 Jun 11
I think that hiring should be competency based. I do understand the risks any company is trying to avoid by hiring relatives, but then it may also seem unfair, just as the example you have stated. Also if an employee deserves a position more than anyone else then his or her status in the establishment's family line shouldn't be a problem. This particular person should be an asset but with such policy, the company is giving away a jewel, one that other companies will no doubt grab in a blink of an eye.
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
11 Jun 11
Oh yes...she is a jewel! It is her that is looking for another job...and works for me in the department I manage Her fiance is a great guy and he is needed too. She has been looking for a long time but I guess with the economy being the way it is, she just hasn't found a job yet where she wouldn't have to take a huge pay cut. I think I am going to be looking in to this policy a little more and testing the water with upper management. I really don't want to lose her. Thanks for responding.
@choybel (5051)
• Philippines
11 Jun 11
Well then, if you do proceed on taking this issue to the higher ups, I bid you good luck. Do update us on the conclusion/outcome of this if you ever proceed to bringing it to the management. Thank you!
• Philippines
11 Jun 11
i have 3 of my siblings currently employed under the same mother company but in different departments and all 3 have been working there for several years already. i, myself have worked with one of my sisters under the same project but in different departments too. i think company policies have reasons for being against hiring relatives. but there should be exceptions and provisions. the key word is in "hiring". when one is in a position to give a recommendation for hiring a personnel, he/she should inhibit him/herself from hiring a relative so as not to be biased or anything. let others decide. often, companies are just avoiding conflict. but what if the best person for the job is a relative of one of the staff? and that relative does not get hired because someone in the family is already working there. totally unfair. and it's also unfair for the case of the couple at your work. they have been already employed when they met and got together. i hope the company policies have a few allowances for such occurrence. to retain employment of married couples even if one has to move to another department, at least they still can keep both their jobs. one of the largest microfinance institution here in the philippines actually encourages marriage/relationship between fellow employees. it's a strategy to make the company family-oriented and be run with a heart and commitment. more people love their jobs because more is at stake if ever they would lose their jobs. there isn't any favoritism even or special treatment. one of the sons of the owners had to really work his butt off and started from the bottom. the owner is one of the most workaholic guys i've ever known and he contributes more than what he demands from his staff. and most of his staff have been with him for decades and his staff's children are now in the company as well. now, i'm not saying it's an ideal set-up. but i believe it can be worked out. it may not be for every company. but that's where a good mission and vision would be handy. i'd vote for a company policy review every so often to keep up with the needs and the modern times.
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
11 Jun 11
I see what your saying and it brings to mind something for me. The company I work for really puts the family environment out there too. I wonder if that is not a bit of a mixed message while not allowing family member to be employed. Promoting people to be close and then not expect anyone to ever fall in love is a little unrealistic. Thanks for the input..it got my wheels turning...maybe a policy review wouldn't hurt..even if it wasn't changed..we could at least look at it.
• Philippines
11 Jun 11
yes, it should not hurt one bit. every good HR consultant would recommend a policy review at least once a year. policies can have amendments if not revision. more people who are happy with their work and at work means being more productive. the end result will always be to the advantage of the company if that happens.
@margeryann (1847)
• United States
11 Jun 11
When my mom use to work her job at those requirements.I think they should only have that requirement if they work in the same area.Maybe, not have that rule and fire them if there is consequences. That is a tricky situation.That would be awful to fall in love with someone that you work with.
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
11 Jun 11
I know! Especially under the policy we have. There are a few couple there, but if they ever want to be married, one has to quit. At the same time..there is the consideration of..what if there was a nasty divorce and they brought it to work..It is really tricky.
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
12 Jun 11
Heyya rich! It is hard to separate stresses at home from the ones at work. When they face you at work, it can be even harder. I can see how being together in harmony can lead to a greater productivity though.
@laken02 (3067)
• United States
26 Apr 12
i think that is an unfair policy and always have, i never liked it at all.. i am glad they dont have that policy where i work, im at a hotel and im glad they are not that strict.. as one day my daughter may want to work there or my freind ha already showed an interest and been told when they hire again she is in line for next job.. but i have worked at factory jobs that were like you say really strict and it is just not right.. me and my hubby met at a factory where i live and his mom was my boss as well as his and his brothers.. and we have been married almost 10 years, but too bad the factory did not make it .. they lasted 3 years after i got on there and then went out.. now hubby is a team leader at anotehr factory and happy there as well.. i dont know why it would matter i mean if you have a problem with the employees that cause trouble i mean why not just get rid of them not punish all..
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
28 May 12
That is a good point. I have always felt like issues should be handled directly instead of punishing everyone. I can see how there might be issues come up for some people but not all of them. Thanks for the response!
@Cale2012 (115)
24 Apr 12
For employees under this rules against hiring relatives, I think it is not fair for they fall in love with each other during work. Because love relationship found upon long period supervising and interaction.So many couples meet their husband or wife in work. When they meet this policy to against relative work together, it is very hard to face. Otherwise, the couple work in same company, maybe they have strong obligation to work hard and much devotion. Everything have their front and opposite look. For the company initial rule, we can think they may encounter treasure loss or finance loss caused by relatives employees.In the world, there isnot a rule regulated without any dependent reason.So everyone or issue also are continual to improvement all the ways. So you can first to suggest company, do it. Everything is possible.
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
28 May 12
When we spend almost as much time at work than we do anywhere else, it can be hard for no one to ever develop feelings for a coworker. We have lost some very good employees because of that rule. If they married..one had to quit. Thanks for responding!
@Shankerj (241)
• India
3 Aug 11
Some companies may have this practice in place to not hire relatives. This is to ensure the fare recruitment. But I don't like the policy, due to which one of the employee will have to leave the job if they marry within the company.
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
5 Aug 11
I think that part of it is the fact that they want thing to remain unbias. It is a hard situation for those that want to marry though. Thanks for responding.
@KrauseHome (36682)
• United States
3 Aug 11
Personally in a lot of ways I actually think this a Good policy, but when 2 people want to marry you would think they would be able to make some sort of exception as long as the 2 people were not in the same department, and maybe even have them work different shifts. Where I work you are not allowed to be related if you work in the same department, and especially the same shift. They even make one person quit if they ever figure out the people are related. I guess they feel that in order to get more production and in all Fairness it is Best to not hire any relatives. (Sad in today's Economy there is still many places like this, but I am sure they have the Best interest at Heart.)
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
5 Aug 11
It's kind of funny because relatives can be brought in through a temporary service durng our busy season..but never full time. Maybe they are testing the water a little with that..lol. Thanks for responding.
@SomeCowgirl (32254)
• United States
23 Jul 11
I think that couples should be allowed to work on different shifts or in different departments. As long as they do not work together, it shouldn't be a problem. I understand company's policies on this but at the same time it's a bit ridiculous as well. You can be married or in a relationship with someone at walmart, as long as you do not work the same department you're fine.
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
24 Jul 11
I'm not sure where the policy came from...I know it hasn't always been so..but it has since I have been there. I think that there should be some exceptions depending on shifts and departments. Thanks for responding!
@dawnald (84206)
• Shingle Springs, California
20 Jun 11
Personally I think that as long as one is not reporting to the other, it shouldn't be a problem, especially if they work in different departments and/or on different shifts. But the company has the right to set the rules...
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
29 Jun 11
I think that is a good point...I guess they think if they allow some people they have to allow them all...I don't know...your right though...they do have the right. Thanks for responding.
@bounce58 (17449)
• Canada
16 Jun 11
If that couple has been together for a while, and that there hasn't been any favoritism exhibited, then I think that policy is really unfair. The same goes for the other way around. If an employee is showing favoritism on a boyfriend or girlfriend (or anybody for that matter), I don't think the company can do anything as long as they are not married.
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
16 Jun 11
They have been together for quite some time. They are in seperate departments too. I guess if the company allows it for them, they will have to allow it for everyone. They are not willing to do that for some reason. I think I will question a few people and get some input as to why the policy is in place. I know it hasn't been forever. There are a mother and daughter there that were hired before the rule. That grandfathered them in I guess. Thanks for responding!
@CatsandDogs (13964)
• United States
11 Jun 11
This is my take on this, these two people are already together as a couple and have been for a number of years so what does it matter now if they were to marry? No it's not fair. Not at all. I can see if they were already married then it would have to be one or the other who gets the job but they weren't already married so why can't they get married now? They met on the job which means after they got the job so that shouldn't count against them. They should be able to marry if that's what they want to do and then put in different areas of the job so they won't be working together on the same shift and yet still be able to see each other after work instead of being apart more because of different shifts.
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
11 Jun 11
Different shifts can cause a strain on a relationship..but you know what..they used to work different shifts for a few years and they have still managed to stay together. They have never acted in any other manner than professional either. I guess that is why it makes me sad. They are in their 40's too...it's not like they are learning about love or the way they should conduct themselves in public. Thanks for the input!
@millertime (1397)
• United States
11 Jun 11
I don't think it's fair at all. It's a very heavy handed management position. Especially for any existing employees that happen to get involved. At the very least there should be an exception made for them. Your employer is exerting too much control over people's personal lives. I can see controlling certain things, like not having relatives working in a position where there could be favoritism used, such as one having supervisory capacity over the other or even working in the same department. But if both are on the same level or work in different departments, I don't see any reason to ban it. It's too bad that there are people in management that have such a narrow mindedness about them. It shows a clear lack of understanding, tolerance and compassion for people, namely their own employees. I bet if it became a public issue, such as getting it on the local news, or through the ACLU or other group, maybe the company would re-think their antiquated policy. Maybe not but it sounds like they could use a little bad publicity either way.
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
11 Jun 11
Maybe so..lol.. One of these people actually works under me and her partner works in a different department. I really don't want her to leave. She is an awesome employee. Been there a long time too and that takes forever to replace. I am going to investigate the reasoning behind the policy and test the water a little with some higher management. I think that most people there would like the policy to be a little more flexible. Thanks for the response!
@missybear (11393)
• United States
11 Jun 11
Good Discussion first of alland it's a tough 1 too cause like you said it has it's pros and cons. Most places I ever worked at had the same po;icy and it's really sad when you have a good person that's qualified for the job but you can't hire him or her cause you are related. On the other hands it' hard because like you said there could be favoritism or if they were married it could bring marriage problems to the work place. I think everybody should get a chance at a job related or not.....then if it doesn't work out let him or her go and find somebody else. You can have a bad employee no matter what related or not
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
11 Jun 11
Thanks missybear! Great point too! There is always the chance of favoritism and deviant behavoir. Being related or married doesn't really mean that they are more prone. I can not tell you the great workers that have come to the factory during our busy season through a temp service that can't be hired full time because of this policy. Or the potential of losing some if they ever fo take the plunge and get married. We are actually given the option to have our relatives and spouses brought in for the season if we want..they just can never be hired. I think that jealousy is the most common issue that I have faced and to be honest..not even that a lot of the time. Thanks for responding!
@paula27661 (15898)
• Australia
11 Jun 11
When I worked in the bank they used to have a policy that allowed married couples and relatives to work there provided it was in separate areas which suited most couples who although loved each other preferred not to spend every waking hour together. It is a shame that the company you work for has no middle ground in regards to this issue and I do feel for couples who are employed there and wish to marry. It would be a real predicament. Personally I don’t see why they can’t stay at the company and, as you mentioned, work in different departments or shifts.
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
11 Jun 11
Hi paula! I think that different departments and shifts would be a nice middle ground. I think you bring up a good point about the people who like a little space. Alot of people are like that. Thanks for the response!
1 person likes this
• China
11 Jun 11
I think that such policies are a bit mechanical.I fall in with you about what It makes no matter, if they work at different shifts or different departments,because if so, people are prone to spare offenders feelings when matters arise.And again,this kind of policy may lead to able men draining.
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
11 Jun 11
It is mechanical. That is a good way of putting it. I think that different shifts or locations could make a big difference. Maybe there could be a policy that just restricts location and department. There are a lot of good people where I work at and it's hard to imagine that none of them would ever like each other...lol Thanks for responding.
1 person likes this
@veejay19 (3590)
• India
11 Jun 11
I once worked in a pvt architectural firm where there were two husband-wife teams employed and the boss also had no objections.However there are many pvt sector and public sector companies who have this policy of not having married couples in the same company or in the same department.One of my relatives is working for a nationalised bank and her husband is also working for the same bank but in a different branch.That is okay.To avoid embarassment for one partner or relative, in case one falls out of favour, many companies do have this policy which i think is quite fair.It is always best for a married couple to work in different companies as it avoids unwanted problems for the company and also for the couple.
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
11 Jun 11
Hi veejay! I think that there are a lot of couples that would not want to be judged by perhaps something the other one did or suffered. I know I wouldn't want to be. Thanks for the response!
• Philippines
11 Jun 11
In my own point of view, the policy of not hiring relatives is fair. With this, bias in the workplace will be prevented especially that whenever one has a relative in work, special treatment is given to that person. The employer or the other employees may see this as unjust because everyone wants fair treatment at work.
@JenInTN (27545)
• United States
11 Jun 11
Bias is a definite concern for the company and the people who work there. I know I wanted to be treated fairly and I want my promotions based on my performance..not who I am related to or who I know. Thanks for the response!