Workplace harrassment and dating

They may fail to consider the potential conflict of interest and the distractions the relationship will bring forward.

Even if workplace relationships are inevitable, they shouldn't take place between boss and subordinate, among coworkers who work directly together, or between an employee and a vendor.

Cultural attitudes toward workplace romances are shifting.

Although some companies chose to have no policy on dating, that leaves them open to potential liability if a supervisor is shown to have sexually harassed a subordinate, for example, by giving a poor performance review to a former partner.

Another option is to require employees to report whenever they enter into a consensual relationship.

This helps to protect the company from later charges that the relationship was not consensual and constituted sexual harassment.

Employment attorney Anna Cohen, writing in HR Hero Online, suggests that no-dating policies can be problematic, as it is difficult to define exactly the type of behavior that will be restricted. United Parcel Services, the 7th Circuit appellate court upheld a no-dating policy that forbade managers from a romantic relationship with any hourly employee, as long as it was consistently enforced.

However, in its opinion, the court also stated that the policy may have gone too far.

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