Dating in the Workplace: Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, If Coworkers Date, You Might Be Sued
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Employees including faculty may not engage in consensual romantic or sexual relationships when one party in the relationship supervises, evaluates, or grades the other party. University of Alabama at Birmingham.
None Assigned Administrative Category: His first comment addressed whether employers should just stay out of it. But a sexual relationship between a boss and a subordinate is definitely not private. The relationship may be consensual at the start, but things can go wrong later.
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But what about the technical point, which observers were quick to point out, that Letterman was not the boss of the CBS employees with whom he got involved, because he works for his own company, Worldwide Pants? But employers absolutely must strive to discourage relationships in which the lower-level employee might feel pressured to begin or continue a romance with a powerful company employee.
In both cases, and dozens of others, the high-profile, powerful person suffered a job loss at worst and a damaged reputation at the very least. But the impact on the lower-level partner, and the workplace as a whole, can be far greater. If the relationship ends, or the less-powerful person moves to end it, he or she will perceive any negative treatment at work—a poor evaluation, denial of promotion, disadvantageous transfer, or another step—as retaliation.
There are several steps employers can take to set standards of conduct for workplace relationships and manage office romances. Federal and state laws, as well as the California Constitution, generally prohibit employers from making employment decisions based on marital status. Anti-nepotism and anti-fraternization policies, however, are permissible. If a personal relationship in the workplace would affect supervision, efficiency, security, or morale, an employer would have a strong argument for implementing and enforcing anti-nepotism and anti-fraternization policies.
These policies should require employees to immediately disclose romantic workplace relationships to a supervisor or manager. By requiring disclosure, employers can red flag romantic relationships between supervisors and subordinates or relationships that create a conflict of interest.
Beware of Supervisor/Subordinate Affairs
Household Automotive Finance Corp. Once an employer learns of a romantic workplace relationship, the employer should immediately explore all options and take non-discriminatory corrective action. Pursuant to a policy, employers can reassign or transfer one or both of the employees. If an employee violates the anti-nepotism or anti-fraternization policy despite notice of the policy, an employer may choose to take disciplinary action against the employee.
This may be the right decision if an employee has a pattern or practice of engaging in office relationships that disrupt the workplace.
Employers should uniformly enforce anti-nepotism and anti-fraternization policies.