Nepotism and Fraternization Policy


The purpose of this policy is to establish the nepotism and fraternization policy for the City of Redlands. This policy is intended to avoid conflicts of interest between work-related and personal/family obligations; reduce favoritism or even the appearance of favoritism; prevent personal/family conflicts from affecting the workplace; and decrease the likelihood of sexual harassment and/or gender discrimination in the workplace.

The following definitions apply to each section of this Policy:

  • A “romantic and/or sexual relationship” exists when two City employees become personally involved with each other to the point that there is dating, exchange of personal affection, sexual or physical intimacy and/or cohabitation.
  • The term “dating” includes but is not limited to one or more social meetings under circumstances that may lead to exchange of personal affection and sexual or physical intimacy.
  • “Cohabitation” applies to those employees who live together in a romantic relationship without being married to one another.
  •  A “significant other” means a relationship between an employee of the City and another individual as defined herein in (a), (b), © and/or (d) and elsewhere in the policy.
  • Department(s) is defined as: Human Resources, MUED, Police, Development Services, Department of Innovation and Technology, Fire, Library, Quality of Life, Finance, Office of the City Attorney, Office of the City Clerk, and Office of the City Manager.
  • Confidential Department(s) is defined as: Human Resources, Finance, City Manager and City Attorney department

1. Fraternization

Romantic Relationships Between Supervisors and Subordinate Employees Are Prohibited.

Public trust, safety, and City morale require that employees avoid the appearance of a conflict between their professional responsibilities and any involvement that they may have in a romantic or sexual relationship with other City employees. In order to promote efficient operation of the City and to avoid misunderstandings, complaints of favoritism, other problems of supervision, security, morale, and possible claims of sexual harassment and/or gender-based discrimination, romantic and/or sexual relations between supervisors and subordinate employees are prohibited. 

​Romantic Relationships Between Employees in the Confidential Departments

Public trust, safety, and City morale require that employees avoid relations that may negatively impact the efficient operation of the City.  Some departments have access to confidential information or are involved in personnel decisions of other departments.
Therefore, employees of Human Resources, Finance, City Manager and City Attorney departments are prohibited from having romantic relationships with other employees in the city- regardless of the other employees’ level, grade or department.

Romantic Relationships Between Co-Employees In The Same Department

Romantic and/or sexual relationships between co-employees in the same Department (except as indicated above) are allowed except when the City Manager or his/her designee determines that the circumstances of that employment raises an undue hardship upon the other employees within the particular work unit and that such continued employment is detrimental to the supervision, safety, security and/or morale of the particular work unit. 

2. Enforcement

The City reserves the right to investigate situations in the workplace to determine whether a romantic and/or sexual relationship exists and therefore presents a possible violation of this Policy.  If the City determines that a proscribed relationship (as defined by this policy) exists, remedial and/or disciplinary measures, including but not limited to a transfer, reassignment, or dismissal, shall be utilized to mitigate issues that arise relevant to the enforcement of this policy.

The City retains the right to refuse to place employees engaged in relationships prohibited by this policy in the same department where it has the potential for creating adverse impact on supervision, safety, security or morale or involves potential conflicts of interest.

In order to implement such policies, and where the above circumstances exist and mandate that employees shall not work in a prohibited relationship, the City will attempt to transfer one party to the proscribed relationship to a similar classified position in another City Department, should such a position exist, be available, and should the employee possess the skills and qualifications necessary to perform the essential duties of the position.  Although the wishes of the involved parties as to which individual will be transferred will be given consideration by the City, the controlling factor in determining who is to be transferred shall be the positive operation and efficiency of the City.  If any such transfer results in a reduction in salary or compensation, applicable and legally required due process procedures shall be applied.

In lieu of a transfer from one department to another, or in situations where no similar counterpart classification exists to which an employee in a proscribed relationship can be transferred, that employee may continue to be employed within the same City department subject to approval by the Department Director and the City Manager or his/her designee. However, any such continuing employment is predicated upon both subject employees not reporting to the same immediate supervisor; not being supervised by each other; not working the same shift at the same work site; or, otherwise becoming involved in a work environment having the potential for adverse impact on supervision, safety, security or morale.

If continuing employment of employees in a relationship prohibited by this Policy cannot be accommodated consistent with the City’s interest in promotion of safety, security, morale and efficiency, then the City retains sole discretion to separate one of the parties from City employ.  Absent resignation by one affected employee, the less senior, in terms of overall City service, of the involved employees, shall be subject to separation.  In the event of separation, applicable and governing due process procedures shall be applied.

The provisions of this fraternization policy are not applicable to individuals married and employed by the City on or before the date of adoption of this policy in their current state of marriage.  As such, a change in marital status/cohabitation, etc. of any current employee, will result in the applicability of this policy.  Furthermore, those employees are subject to any and all employment-related actions by the City, that are permissible pursuant to existing City policies and procedures to address conduct that is negatively impacting the work environment.