Dating employees

Does the couple now get to walk down the halls holding hands? Are they allowed to make date plans or exchange a kiss as they pass in the halls?

This problem is enhanced with businesses with less than employees because employees know a greater percent of the company as opposed to larger businesses where a single employee may only know part of their division and works with more of the company with greater frequency. Not only could this be awkward after a breakup, but it could become embarrassing to see a couple. This could make Employee A jealous, whereas prior it was a harmless crush that did not disrupt productivity.

Every company is different and every company has different dating policies. The key is to determine what works best for your business. Speaking with other companies may help, as might speaking with your Human Resource Peers to help companies establish policies and create employee handbooks. They can go through with you how to create a policy that will work best for your company because, after all, the above Pros and Cons may not apply to your business and are only a small list of considerations.

After all, the workplace is where most people spend the majority of their waking hours.

Prohibited by Policy?

In fact, some organizations have policies that prohibit these types of relationships. Employers have a reason to worry. In , more than 13, sexual harassment claims were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Even if policies don't prohibit these relationships, this is a consideration that whoever is in the power position needs to consider seriously. Any kind of favoritism toward one employee over others is obviously a concern in the workplace. More than 70 percent did not have formal written or verbal policies dealing with romantic relationships.

However, the numbers changed sharply when the dating relationship changed from being between co-workers to being between manager and subordinate percent believed that relationships between superiors and subordinates should be prohibited. She didn't even work there anymore!

Dealing With Personal Relationships at Work: Dating at Work | Edward Lowe Foundation

Earlier this year, Best Buy's chief executive, Brian Dunn, stepped down after an investigation by the board discovered he had shown "extremely poor judgment" with a year-old female employee. A couple years ago, Hewlett-Packard's chief executive, Mike Hurd, resigned amid accusations of falsifying expense reports to hide a personal relationship with an independent contractor. As companies grow and add employees, you will often see signs of budding workplace relationships. This can be especially true in high-growth companies that demand long work hours and tend to hire more single employees.

When your routine is work-sleep-work, going out to date does not seem like a real option for many.


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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. There will foreseeably be claims of favoritism, or even discrimination or harassment.

Dating in the Workplace: To Date or Not to Date?

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. 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.

Harassment Claims and Preferential Treatment

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.