If you own a company, chances are you've had to decide (and at times reassess) whether to allow consensual dating and romantic relationships among your employees -- or, in legalese, whether and to what extent to adopt an office "non-fraternization" policy.
Although there are no laws which outright prohibit interoffice relationships, as shown in the news of late, they carry obvious risks, such as: Lastly, when romantic relationships fail (and let's not kid ourselves -- they usually do), there is the possibility one or both participants may view the once blissful (and consensual) detente through a lens of revisionist history -- fertile ground for headline-grabbing and costly sex harassment litigation.
Regardless of your ultimate policy decision on this tricky issue -- whether you choose to ban all forms of workplace dating or you measuredly decide to be a bit more flexible -- be prepared to enforce your non-fraternization policies consistently and in a non-discriminatory manner.
Be vigilant, do not make exceptions and treat all relationships the same -- regardless of the participants' gender or sexual orientation. The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, company, or individual.
If the relationship is voluntary on both sides, neither member of the couple is being harassed.
However, because such relationships may lead to problems that could affect employees' job performance, many organizations do have rules about inter-office dating.
In fact, such behavior could cause an unlawful hostile environment. It is common knowledge that Tim occasionally sleeps with Charlotte and that he has started dating Regina.
If Tim hands out benefits based on who he is having relationships with, Beth may claim that she is subjected to a sexually hostile environment where women are treated like Tim's toys.Some organizations don't tolerate inter-office relationships, while some try to discourage them.Others freely allow inter-office relationships or treat them on a case-by-case basis.This power may create relationships where the members of the couple do not stand on equal footing.To avoid any chance that employees are pressured by a supervisor into relationships that they don't want, your organization may transfer supervisory authority over the subordinate to another individual when a subordinate and supervisor are involved in an inter-office relationship.Lastly, in this context, you should give strong thought to having both parties acknowledge, in writing, the voluntary and consensual nature of the relationship.