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HR policy - Spousal and partner hiring

To recruit employees of the highest caliber, the University must be prepared to meet the many challenges and opportunities of the higher education marketplace. Dual-career couples represent both such a challenge and an opportunity.
 Functional Owner Chief Human Resources Officer
 Executive Sponsors Vice Chancellor for Administration & Finance
 Policy Contact Assistant Director for Talent Management, Human Resources

Who this policy applies to:
All prospective employees who are applying for positions that are classified as Faculty, Academic Staff, Limited, and University Staff. 

To recruit employees of the highest caliber, the University must be prepared to meet the many challenges and opportunities of the higher education marketplace. Dual-career couples represent both such a challenge and opportunity.

Policy Detail:

Note to prospective employees: If you are considering an offer of employment with UWL and wish to explore potential opportunities for your spouse or partner using this policy, please communicate that request to your search committee chair, hiring authority, or Human Resources after receiving an offer and before signing an employment contract. Please review the policy in detail and contact Human Resources if you have questions.

1. Introduction

1.1. To recruit employees of the highest caliber, the University must be prepared to meet the many challenges and opportunities of the higher education marketplace. Dual-career couples represent both such a challenge and opportunity. The University's success in attracting the faculty, staff, and administrative leadership it seeks will depend, in part, on its capacity to help dual-career couples meet their professional objectives. 

1.2. The following policies and procedures have been developed to ensure that spousal and partner hiring is conducted in a consistent, fair, and ethical manner in order to further the goals of the policy and the best interests of the University community.

1.3. In all activities pursuant to this policy, all University employees must comply with the provisions of the UW-La Crosse Nepotism Policy (see Appendix A for reference) and all other relevant procedural and ethical guidelines.

1.4. The terms “spouse” and “partner” are used interchangeably in this policy and shall be applied equally without regard to the sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity of the individuals involved.

1.5. The language and content of this policy are intended to be gender-inclusive and to apply to all individuals regardless of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The singular “they” and its derivative forms (“them”, “their”, etc.) are used at times in this policy for this reason.

1.6. This policy does not guarantee employment for any person.

2. Definitions

2.1. “Spouses” are two individuals who are legally married to each other.

2.2. “Partners” are defined as two individuals who, together, meet all of the criteria set forth in the Domestic Partner Affidavit, UWS-50, and/or are in a civil union together.

2.3. “Spouse A” refers to the first spouse or partner being offered employment by the University.

2.4. “Spouse B” refers to the spouse or partner of Spouse A whose potential employment at the University is a substantial factor in Spouse A’s acceptance of the offer of employment.

2.5. “Department A” refers to the department or unit in which Spouse A is being offered employment.

2.6. “Department B” refers to the department or unit in which Spouse B is seeking employment. "Department B" may, in some cases, refer to the same department or unit in which Spouse A is being offered employment.

3. Initial Procedures 

3.1. Spouse A initiates the process by making a spousal hire request after receiving an offer of employment with the University. The request may be communicated to the search committee chair, the hiring authority, or Human Resources.

3.2. The University representative who receives the request informs Human Resources, Affirmative Action, the department chair or unit director of Department A, the college Dean (if applicable), and the Vice Chancellor with responsibility for Department A. If the position being offered to Spouse A is at the level of Dean, Director, or above, the Chancellor shall be informed.

3.3. All persons involved re-acquaint themselves with this policy and the nepotism policy.

3.4. After making the initial request, Spouse A is removed from the process and shall have no involvement in any discussions or decisions regarding the spousal hire.

3.5. Spouse B sends Human Resources a resume or curriculum vitae, along with a brief cover letter indicating areas of experience, interest and qualification.

3.6. Human Resources consults with relevant senior administrators to identify potential positions for Spouse B, with consideration given to expected vacancies, budgetary constraints, and future needs of departments/units.

3.7. If a potential position is identified for Spouse B, and if Affirmative Action determines that the spousal hire would not hinder affirmative action hiring goals, and if the Vice Chancellor, dean (if applicable) and department chair/unit lead of Department B are supportive, the process will move to the Departmental Evaluation stage.

4. Departmental Evaluation

4.1. With Spouse B’s approval, Spouse B’s credentials will be provided to Department B for review. Department B will follow these procedures and any other applicable bylaws or policies. At any point, Department B may terminate the process if they determine that Spouse B’s qualifications do not match the needs of the department. The evaluation process conducted by Department B shall be impartial and free of any explicit or implicit pressure, bias, or influence by any outside individual or office.

4.2. Department B (or a subcommittee thereof) will review Spouse B’s credentials to determine whether Spouse B’s qualifications are comparable to likely finalists in a competitive search, and with consideration given to Department B’s current and future goals and staffing needs.

4.3. If Department B elects to conduct a phone interview and/or on-campus interview of Spouse B, interview questions shall be prepared and submitted to Affirmative Action in advance for approval. The interview process will generally follow the same protocol used in a competitive search. 

4.4. If Department B recommends Spouse B for hire, and approvals are obtained from the Dean (if applicable), Vice Chancellor, and AAO, an offer of employment will be extended to Spouse B.

5. Additional provisions

5.1. This policy must be invoked by Spouse A as part of the negotiation of an offer of employment. After a person has been hired*, the policy cannot be used to secure employment for their spouse. Spouses of current employees are invited to research and apply for vacant positions on the university website through the open recruitment process and are entitled to fair and equitable consideration alongside other applicants.

5.2. If a vacant position has been advertised and candidates have applied for it, that search shall not be cancelled in order to place Spouse B into that vacant position. However, Spouse B may apply for the position and is entitled to fair and equitable consideration alongside other applicants.

5.3. The University shall not discriminate against any job candidate on the basis of marital status or on the basis of their decision, intention, or perceived intention to invoke this policy.

5.4. Employees hired through this process shall not be treated differently with regard to any other aspect of their employment, including retention, evaluation, promotion, tenure, work assignments, or any other personnel matters, nor shall they have any express or implied guarantee of ongoing or indefinite employment as a result of having been hired through this process.

6. Disclosure of this policy

6.1. Human Resources and Affirmative Action shall ensure that all hiring authorities and Search & Screen committees are aware of this policy and all current and future updates so that it may be consistently applied.

6.2. This policy shall be made available to individuals applying for positions at the university in a manner similar to other policies and information that are relevant to applicants (e.g. personnel policies, promotion standards, and benefits information).

*Note for paragraph 5.1: The phrase "after a person has been hired" refers to the formal acceptance of an offer of employment, i.e. signing an employment contract. It does not refer to the "start date," i.e. when the person begins working for the university. Therefore, pursuant to this paragraph, a prospective employee must invoke this policy to seek employment for their spouse before signing an employment contract. However, once the spousal hire process has been initiated, Spouse A may then sign their employment contract at any time and this will not prevent the pending spousal hire process from continuing to its conclusion which may or may not result in secured UWL employment for Spouse B.

Revision history:
Last reviewed July 2020

Supporting tools:
See "Links to related information"

The prospective employee is responsible for engaging the hiring authority prior to an appointment document being issued.

Links to related information:

Keywordspartner hiring, spousal hiring, dual career   Doc ID103693
OwnerCarri O.GroupUW-La Crosse
Created2020-07-07 13:26:11Updated2020-07-14 14:44:01
SitesUW-La Crosse
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