No dating policy

While the idea of having an office sweetheart may boost some employees’ morale, romantic relationships in the workplace can create employee dissension and legal liability for employers.

Relationships Between Supervisors and Subordinates While any relationship between employees may cause problems in the workplace, the level of exposure to employers increases when a romantic relationship develops between a supervisor and subordinate.

Under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), it is unlawful for an employer to subject an employee to different terms and conditions of employment because of the employee’s sex. The first type is “Quid pro quo” harassment, which occurs when submission to sexual conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a condition of a job, a job benefit, or the absence of a job detriment.

The second type is a “hostile work environment,” in which an individual must show: (1) he or she was subjected to conduct of a harassing nature because of his or her sex; (2) the conduct was both subjectively and objectively unwelcome; and (3) the conduct was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the employee’s working environment so as to create an abusive working environment.

Intra-office dating can lead to other problems, too.

Productivity may go down when people are distracted during the day, and dating in the chain of command may lead to suspicions that favoritism is at work.

Avoid the potential risk of sexual harassment litigation by either prohibiting supervisors or managers from dating their direct reports or implement a policy in which when a relationship blossoms, the direct report switches to a different supervisor.Employees should be reminded of relevant considerations, such as no public displays of affection at the workplace, and they should be given a chance to consult with an attorney before they sign the love contract.Intra-office dating is always a dicey proposition, but it's different at every workplace.You may also want to prohibit inter-department dating to avoid conflict.No, you don’t have the right to tell two of your employees who are in a relationship that they can’t express PDA (public displays of affection) outside of work hours.

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