What are the dangers of nepotism?

Author: Jill Gormley, Strong and Clear Communications

Discrimination claims are the biggest legal danger associated with nepotism. If an individual is not hired in favor of a less qualified relative or friend, or if a relative is promoted over another more qualified employee, the employer may become the target of a discrimination claim.

Further, showing favoritism towards an individual's family or friends may cause other employees to complain about preferential treatment and lower employee morale or cause a loss in productivity if the relative or friend is underqualified for the position.

Nepotism may also lead to practical difficulties. For example, scheduling conflicts might arise if a family vacations together, as the employer may be understaffed during that period, placing an unfair burden on other employees. Further, there may be other conflicts regarding childcare and family responsibilities. There may also be communication between the relatives about confidential employment matters. Additionally, family tensions may affect the workplace in a negative manner.