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Laws about dating coworkers

Given the power a supervisor wields over subordinates, it could be very difficult for the employer to establish anything to the contrary.

A subordinate also could claim retaliation if he is given a poor performance review after the relationship ends.

In one example of a workplace relationship forming the basis of a sexual harassment claim, Allan Samson hired Joyce Chan as his legal secretary and the two dated for two years.

Chan alleged that she continued the relationship out of fear of losing her job but eventually ended the relationship when she realized that Samson’s behavior constituted sexual harassment.

My response is that you should only enact policies you intend to enforce consistently.

Let’s first consider a total ban on fraternization in the workplace (assuming you can clearly define “fraternization”).

As a result, if you decide to enter into a dating relationship in the workplace, recognize the impact your conduct could have on the company and your professional future.

Chan informed Samson that she was planning on filing formal charges of sexual harassment and retaliation with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DEFH”) and state court.by Kylie Crawford Ten Brook According to a 2012 Stanford University sociology study, 10 percent of people meet their spouses at work. Unfortunately, not all relationships end well, and when they don’t, employers can face harassment and retaliation claims.Although most businesses have no rules about office relationships, now may be the time—while the office is awash in hearts and the fragrance of flowers—to decide what’s best for your workplace.() Indeed, relationships that begin as consensual between supervisors and subordinates may later form the basis of a lawsuit.Sexual Harassment If employers do not take swift, proper action upon discovering a romantic workplace relationship, they may be faced with claims of sexual harassment.Chain-of-command issues One of the most troubling scenarios of dating in the workplace involves a relationship that forms between a supervisor and a subordinate.No matter how consensual the relationship may seem, there is always a chance that the subordinate will later claim that he was coerced into the relationship by the supervisor.The situation is also likely to lead to claims of favoritism by other employees—which could have their own legal bases but, in any event, will affect morale.To policy or not to policy I’m often asked whether a company should have a policy against dating in the workplace.Finally, you could do nothing and rely solely on your antiharassment and antidiscrimination policies. .until it costs too much Anyone in a high-level position is held to a much higher standard than other employees.If you take this approach, conduct regular training on those policies and promote a culture of compliance. Regardless of what your company policies say and no matter how consensual the relationship seems, if the relationship goes south, chances are, your company will conduct a quick cost-benefit analysis and determine that it’s less costly to get rid of you than keep you.

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