For example, if you demote the subordinate employee, and that employee happens to be female, you could wind up with a sex discrimination claim on your hands. What considerations should an employer take into account before disciplining an employee under its no-dating policy?One way you can avoid such trouble is to tell the two employees that their seeing each other while working in the same department is unacceptable and that one of them will have to be moved to another department. Policies that impinge on employees’ private lives always carry legal risks, including discrimination and invasion of privacy claims.Not all relationships last forever, of course, but if and when the relationship between manager and subordinate ends, the work relationship may need to continue.
So employers should consider implementing a policy covering this topic.
The Society for Human Resource Management and Career conducted a Workplace Romance survey in 2006 and found that only 9 percent of the HR professionals surveyed indicated that dating among employees was prohibited in their organizations.
More than 70 percent did not have formal written or verbal policies dealing with romantic relationships.
So, is it possible to allow cupid’s arrows in the office—but steer clear of legal landmines?
In our lifetimes, we’ll spend 90,000 hours at our jobs, and we build organic relationships with the people we see everyday.
However, it is important to assess the pros and cons of strict workplace dating policies, and take into account how to handle both managers and subordinates under such a policy, as well as the steps to take to prevent such policies from raising privacy concerns. Can an employer legally demote or transfer a manager who is dating one of his subordinates even though the company doesn’t specifically have a no-dating policy?