- How to Address a Claim That a Supervisor Is Dating an Employee.
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- Not Every Date Is Sexual Harassment!
- Supervisor/Employee Relationships.
When your routine is work-sleep-work, going out to date does not seem like a real option for many. According to the CareerBuilder survey, some industries are more prone to inter-office dating than others. Hospitality, Financial Services, Transportation and Utilities, Information Technology, and Health Services all topped the list as having higher than average office dating. As a business owner, you might ask: The legal issue is what I like to call the "amplification" of potential liability that always exists around the employer-employee relationship.
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There will foreseeably be claims of favoritism, or even discrimination or harassment. When a workplace romance sours, it can expose the company to increased liability, since the connection between alleged actors is easier to establish--essentially giving the plaintiff some good ammunition for his or her case. Relationships between supervisors and subordinates create even more potential problems.
In a better scenario, coworkers would find it easier to claim that an employee received preferential treatment from a supervisor he or she is dating.
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- Dating Your Employee: When is it Sexual Harassment?.
In a poorer scenario, the relationship would end badly, one of the employees could claim that the relationship was non-consensual, or that sexual harassment existed. An employee could even make a case for unlawful retaliation if he or she receives a poor performance review from a former lover or if a co-worker receives a better evaluation from his or her boss.
Sexual Harassment Guidelines
There are a few different ways to manage this liability. When it comes to workplace dating policies, here are a few basic options:. Generally, policies cover not only employees, but also contractors, vendors, suppliers, manufacturers, and the like. Essentially, any relationship between two people that could have a negative effect on the company if things sour, or if one party is able to improperly influence the other would fall under the policy.
One last generally acceptable rule: Even if it does not violate a written policy, your boss the CEO or the board might not care, and view it as a lack of senior management acumen. I tend to sound like a broken record when it comes to company policies.
Laws About Relationships Between Employees & Supervisors - Woman
So here it goes again: In my opinion, failure to equitably enforce a corporate policy is often worse than not having one. When it comes to workplace dating policies, here are a few basic options: You can do nothing. This seems to be the overwhelming favorite for smaller companies or companies that are just starting to formalize employee training. Often a CEO or president will look at the potential for risk and weigh that against the ability to police and enforce a policy. For many smaller companies, they choose to go without a policy, and let the rules on harassment and discrimination do the job.
Note that you should always have a policy prohibiting and enforcing sexual harassment and discrimination. You can ban it. This is another common method, known as an "anti-fraternization policy. This will prevent resentment from members of your staff, who believe the supervisor is giving the employee preferential treatment. Advise both parties that you expect them to exercise discretion.
Tell them you're worried about how their relationship will affect other team members, and you feel that flaunting it would be inadvisable. Don't tell them to lie if asked directly about their relationship, but make it clear that you expect them to act professionally. If there's little chance that the relationship will be disruptive, and you are confident they have a healthy, balanced relationship, there's no reason you shouldn't offer them your blessing, and wish them well, especially if you learn they've been conducting their relationship discreetly for some time.
Laws About Relationships Between Employees & Supervisors
Michael Roennevig has been a journalist since He has written on politics, the arts, travel and society for publications such as "The Big Issue" and "Which? Skip to main content. Policy Alert both parties to your company's dating policy. Redeploy Redeploying either the supervisor or the employee to another department or team within your business. Discretion Advise both parties that you expect them to exercise discretion.
Congratulate If there's little chance that the relationship will be disruptive, and you are confident they have a healthy, balanced relationship, there's no reason you shouldn't offer them your blessing, and wish them well, especially if you learn they've been conducting their relationship discreetly for some time.