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The United States Postal Service outlines its rules regarding the hiring of relatives in Handbook EL-312, Employment and Placement. These rules help the USPS prevent nepotism at all levels of employment, including the hiring and advancement stages.
USPS Nepotism Terminology
The USPS uses specific terminology in its policies on nepotism. A manager is a postal worker with the authority to hire and promote individuals and remove employees. A nonbargaining employee is anyone employed in an executive or administrative salary position or in the Postal Career Executive Service. The definition of a relative includes parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, children, nieces, nephews and spouses.
Hiring and Promotion
When a manager is in a position to hire an employee and a relative applies, there is a procedure to follow. The manager takes all files, such as the Hiring Worksheet, related documents and a full disclosure of the connection to the applicant and turns them over to the next higher authority. In instances where promotion is being sought by a current postal employee, a promotion file is turned over instead of the Hiring Worksheet. The decision for selecting the new employee or promoting an existing employee becomes the responsibility of the higher authority.
There are exceptions to the policy of turning responsibility over to the next higher authority. When a veteran applies for a USPS position, he receives preference. If a related veteran is the only applicant with this preference, the manager is able to make the hiring decision but must notify higher management. Promotion or assignment of a senior qualified bidder to a new position is also handled by a manager, but it must be reported to higher management. In EAS-AE or military post offices, managers are allowed to make decisions for filling Postmaster Relief positions. In an emergency situation, installation heads are also able to temporarily appoint a relative. In this situation, higher-level notification is immediately required.
Consequences of Ignoring Policies
Charges of nepotism are investigated by the USPS Office of Inspector General and being found guilty of nepotism carries serious consequences. A manager found guilty of not disclosing a family connection is subject to disciplinary action, which can include removal from the USPS. The newly hired or promoted employee faces potential cancellation of her appointment or other "appropriate action," according to policy.
Ashley Mott has 12 years of small business management experience and a BSBA in accounting from Columbia. She is a full-time government and public safety reporter for Gannett.