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OK, so what happens when you’re working with someone and you don’t like them, but their family member also works at the company? Or, maybe you just don’t get along?

Nepotism is a real challenge in the workplace not only because it opens the company to possible lawsuits but because of the concern of perceived or real favoritism. You know the old adage: “Blood is thicker than water”. When push comes to shove, most people will publicly side with a family member even if that family member is in the wrong. It goes against the human condition to think that a family member is wrong.

6I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across someone who has a problem with a co-worker but can’t do anything about it because that co-worker is related to someone in the company… and usually it’s someone who is higher up the food chain too!

What can HR do about nepotism:
1. Be careful about hiring family members into the company.
2. Always make sure that the family member isn’t reporting to another family member.
3. Getting referrals is great, but be careful to hire too many family members.
4. Do not treat family members any differently than the other employees.

If you’re a non-family member employee, you need to know:
1. You’ll likely never get the promotion that a family member will get. Even if you’re more qualified.
2. Ask people who have left the company about nepotism.
3. Before taking a job, review GlassDoor for any nepotism comments.
4. They will have closed door conversations that you’ll never be invited to attend, be ok with that.

Ultimately, the larger the company, the easier it is to absorb family members into other departments. But, if you’re a small company, be careful about hiring too many family members because it could lead to some ugly workplace politics later.