Dating ethics in workplace
In the long run, your company has no right (legal or otherwise) to get involved in your workplace romance if it is not a “reporting romantic relationship.” If it is a Triple R, however, the company can intercede in the interest of preventing a potential harassment lawsuit.
The company may also need to take steps to prevent a “sexually charged” situation, a new twist on the “hostile environment.” Per example, the California Supreme Court (after a six year battle) recently issued an eagerly-anticipated decision pertaining to sexual harassment claims brought under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
The justices held that widespread sexual favoritism in the workplace creates a hostile worker environment that demeans other employees.
Edna Miller and Frances Mackey (latter now deceased) were employed by the California Department of Corrections.
If the relationship with a manager ends, the subordinate could at some point claim, under US federal guidelines of sexual harassment, that her supervisor coerced her into the relationship.
If you’re having a relationship with your boss, how does a subordinate call off a romance and break his/her boss’ heart?
In the “believe it or not” category, I have heard of a few firms going so far as to require you to sign documents (known as a “Dating Waiver” or “Love Contract”) acknowledging that your relationship with a coworker is consensual and that either party can break things off at any time without fear of reprisal. Run, don’t walk, away from such a “love contract.” While these contracts theoretically protect the company from legal action, an employee who signs one could always say she/he was seduced, induced or otherwise under duress at the time— likely rendering the document invalid anyhow.
These skittish efforts, however, ultimately reflect the concern and confusion that companies are having regarding workplace romance.
Someone not involved in the romance could make a claim against the company, alleging that the involved employee was receiving preferential treatment, such as better bonuses or an easier workload.That’s when sexual tensions are so intolerable at work that they would affect any normal person’s ability to do a job.This lawsuit cranked up the accountability for all workplace romances a notch because this was about consensual sexual relationships in the workplace that were found to affect other employees who were not in any way coerced to have sex!It is common for relationships and attractions to develop in the workplace.As an employer, it is important to ensure that these circumstances do not lead to incidents of sexual harassment.
They have heard the full range of positive stories about romances that have blossomed into great marriages along with great careers to horror tales of those that have crashed in total personal (and often litigious) disaster in both arenas.