Family and romantic relationships at work policy and guidance

When employees keep their personal, family, and job roles separate, it creates a fair, friendly, and trustworthy environment.

A workplace where employees maintain clear boundaries between family, personal, and work relationships leads to an environment that:

  • Is fair, equitable, and safe
  • Promotes high employee morale
  • Ensures trust in the City’s merit-based employment system

The City is a large employer, so it's not surprising that family members and romantic partners may work here, and there’s generally nothing wrong with that. Problems related to nepotism, favoritism, or conflicts of interest can arise when one family member or romantic partner makes an employment decision about the other.

That’s why employees may not make, participate in making, or influence any employment decision involving a family member or romantic partner.

The Civil Service Commission clarified and updated this well-established City policy on Feb. 6, 2017.


DHR worked with the Civil Service Commission and other City departments to create tools that human resources (HR) professionals can use to educate their departments about the policy and its application. Here you will find:

On February 6, 2017, the Commissioners adopted the policy regarding Family and Romantic Relationships at Work.

This document explains the policy and uses scenarios to help HR professionals understand and apply it.

This document states the policy in plain language and can be distributed to all employees in conjunction with training.

This document states the policy in plain language, tells supervisors what to do if they know about a policy violation, and can be distributed to all supervisors in conjunction with training.

This document can guide HR professionals in their decision-making.

HR professionals must use this document to illustrate how employment decisions will be made when indirect supervision covered by the policy cannot be removed.

This provides HR professionals with a way to document that employees have received and will follow the policy.