Nepotism and the No-Spouse Rule

Most companies today prohibit any kind of nepotism. As thus, if two employees marry, one of them will get the boot.

So where does the law stand in this issue? It appears that court decisions differ from state to state.

Some employees alleged that no-spouse rules "violate their constitutional right to marry." But courts pointed out such rules do not keep people from getting hitched. They just keep them from holding a particular job.

Employees had better luck in the other 20 states that prohibit employee discrimination based on marital status. To site an example, when a couple of massage therapists at the at the Stouffer Hotel Company (Hawaii) Ltd. Inc. married, one of them was given the pink slip. The Supreme Court of Hawaii ruled that the employee was dismissed specifically because he got married. If they just continued to live together, the dismissed newlywed could nave kept his job. The dismissal counted as illegal discrimination.

When considering implementing anti-nepotism and no-spouse rule suggests weighing the benefits against "the risk of legal challenges or harm to employee morale."

Courts are more inclined to support a sensible rule than a general one that "prohibits all relatives from every department."


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