Florida Nepotism Laws

By Etch Tabor
Florida, public officials, most relatives

Florida state contour with Capital City against blurred USA flag image by Stasys Eidiejus from Fotolia.com

Nepotism is the act of favoring someone for employment purposes, such as hiring or promoting, due to a non-work relationship, such as a friendship, romantic relationship or familial connection. Most states have laws against the practice of nepotism, and many companies have policies that strictly forbid these types of acts. Florida is no different. The state has a statute with a number of clauses that deal with nepotism.

Anti-Nepotism Law

Under Florida law, public officials are banned from "appointing, promoting, employing, advancing or advocating for appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement in or to a position in the agency in which he serves or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control any individual who is a relative." For example, if a municipal chairperson recommends or appoints his daughter for a clerical position in his office, then he is running afoul of Florida nepotism law.

Legal Definition of Relative

Under Florida law, the legal definition of what constitutes a relative for the purposes of nepotism in public employment is clearly defined. In fact, the law provides a laundry list of familial labels that constitute nepotism. These labels are "father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother or half sister."

Scope of Anti-Nepotism

Under Florida law, the anti-nepotism statute only applies to public agencies. These agencies, as defined by law, include any state agency, an office of the legislative branch, an office of the judicial branch, a county, a city or any other political subdivision, excluding a district school board or community college district.

Legal Exceptions to Anti-Nepotism Laws

Under Florida law, there are some exceptions granted to the anti-nepotism statute. Specifically, legislators may employ relatives as pages or messengers during legislative sessions, agencies may hire relatives temporarily in the event of an emergency and volunteers of government agencies, such as volunteer firefighters.

About the Author

For three years, Etch Tabor worked as the technology and online editor at "InsideCounsel" magazine, a national publication for in-house counsel. He currently is a full-time freelance writer, specializing in legal, technology and comedy writing. He graduated in 2004 from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a degree in journalism.

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