Family and romantic relationships at work (Civil Service Commission)

If you have a romantic or family relationship with a City employee or job applicant, you need to follow certain rules.

Types of relationships

This guidance only applies if you and another City employee or person applying for a City job are either:

  • Family members
  • Dating each other (in a romantic relationship)

This rule doesn't apply to other relationships. That includes being friends, roommates, or neighbors. 

What's not allowed

If you have a family or romantic relationship with a coworker, you can't affect decisions related to the other person's job. This includes:

  • Interviewing them or overseeing their exams
  • Hiring, promoting, transferring, disciplining, or firing them
  • Supervising them
  • Assigning them work
  • Approving their leave time
  • Assessing their performance

Who this rule applies to

  • City employees
  • City officers
  • Elected officials
  • Interns
  • Volunteers

What you need to do

Do you work with a romantic partner or family member? If you think you haven't followed the rules, contact Human Resources at 415-557-4800.

Telling Human Resources staff (also called "reporting") will not get you in trouble. Their staff will also protect your privacy. They will only share information on a need-to-know basis.

Your department may make changes to your job (or the other person's) to fix the problem.

Why we made this change

We want to make sure that all employees are treated fairly. This rule prevents favoritism (treating workers differently because of personal relationships).


Last updated October 31, 2022