Human Resources

Search waiver request policy

Last updated: October 18, 2023

At the University of Washington, diversity is integral to excellence. We value and honor diverse experiences and perspectives, strive to create welcoming and respectful learning environments, and promote access, opportunity and justice for all. UW, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, prohibits discrimination (including preferential treatment) based on race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, citizenship, age, marital status, disability, military status, or genetic information.

In accordance with state and federal law, UW is committed to providing equal opportunity employment through inclusive, non-discriminatory open recruitment and hiring practices. Conducting open recruitments is important to obtaining the best qualified employees and ensuring equal opportunity in the hiring of staff and academic personnel.

Exceptions to  competitive search procedures for academic personnel, professional staff, and contract covered exempt staff are permitted only with appropriate justification and when they are in the best interests of the UW; all requests must be approved beforehand by the appropriate Vice President/Vice Provost/Dean/Chancellor. In determining the appropriateness of a search waiver, the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) office also considers whether the waiver would result in a hire that supports UW’s affirmative action goals and other policies, such as being responsive to dual career couples. Classified positions are not eligible for the search waiver process.

Please initiate a search waiver request as soon as you anticipate a potential need by contacting the assigned Human Resource Compensation Consultant for professional staff and contract covered exempt staff requests and EOAA for academic personnel requests; last minute requests may cause delays in hiring.

Search waiver exception reasons

The following instances or circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis:

  1. Spousal/Domestic Partner Appointment: Situations may exist where, as part of a separate new appointment or the retention of an existing appointment of a fully qualified academic personnel or staff member, the individual’s qualified spouse or domestic partner is given an appointment within the University for which there is no current active recruitment. To meet this criterion, the search waiver candidate must be married to or in a domestic partnership with an existing academic personnel or staff member (or with someone recently offered UW academic personnel, professional staff, or contract covered exempt staff employment), consistent with RCW 26.04.010, 26.04.020, and 26.60.030.
  2. Critical Hire/“Team” Requirement: Following a competitive search for a position deemed critical to the overall advancement of the University by the President or Provost, a waiver may be granted for certain “team” members who accompany the critical hire. Generally, these would be individuals whose duties belong in academic personnel, professional staff, or contract covered exempt staff and are deemed essential to advancing the research or other work of the critical hire.
  3. Candidate specifically named in a contract or grant: Situations may exist where a candidate is specifically named in a contract or grant award as PI (or similar role) and paid 100% from that contract or grant.
  4. Candidate Uniquely Qualified: Situations may exist where the candidate possesses an outstanding and unique specialized skill, focus area, knowledge, and/or qualification; and who can fill a special need in a department and there is documentation of unique experience that would not otherwise be reasonably available on short notice. These situations are carefully reviewed and approval depends upon, among other things, the comparison between the candidate and the needs of the department. In addition, it is important to consider previous search history(ies) to validate a candidate’s unique qualifications over any other potential candidates.

Search waiver request process for academic personnel and staff

First, complete the Search Waiver Request Form for Staff and Academic Personnel (PDF).

  1. The EOAA Office will contact the hiring department and/or unit head to discuss any issues or concerns with the requested search waiver.
  2. The EOAA Office will decide whether to approve or deny the request. If approved, the EOAA Office will email an approval letter to the requestor. If denied, the requestor will be advised as to the reason(s) for the denial.
  3. If the search waiver is approved, the hiring department proceeds with the hiring process.