button Vol. 5
No. 4
Spring 2000

line INSIDE line

More on Workplace Romance -
Dating, Harassment, Court Rulings
and More!
line Allergies and Asthma in the Workplace
- Deserve Attention
line Drug Testing of Workers
Is Not Cost Effective Says ACLU
line New Concerns About Union Organizing and E-mail
line Some Employers Crack Down on Personal Online Time
line Briefs


Braun Consulting News
News on Personnel, Labor Relations and Benefits

See our Archive Pages for Back Issues of Braun Consulting News!

button More On Workplace Romance -
1. No-dating Policies... Are They Enforceable?

Employers may be quick to institute policies dictating that employees are not allowed to date other employees. (See our earlier articles on Workplace Romance). However, these policies may be all but unenforceable. Such policies can also lead to severe problems for employers that invade their employees' privacy.

The greatest concerns for employers are founded around the supervisory relationship. Here, employees can make valid claims that they believed that their job security would be in jeopardy if they chose to end the relationship with a supervisor.

The clearest method to deal with this problem is a strong sexual harassment program.

Sexual harassment programs should include education, documentation and acknowledgement by employees and supervisors that they have received information describing what is and is not sexual harassment. They should also include training that clearly communicates the company's stance on sexual harassment and the procedure for reporting harassment. There should be explicit communication that employees should not fear retribution for truthfully reporting incidents where they felt harassed.

If a dating relationship exists between employees, the policy may suggest that the relationship be reported to the affected employees' managers so that an appropriate decision may be made in regard to avoiding any sense of real or perceived impropriety.

The goal of the organization's policy on dating should be to protect the company while avoiding violation of employee's privacy.

In some cases where the dating does not influence the work relationship and no viable transfer can readily be agreed upon, an option may be in implementing a dating contract. To protect the company, the employer can try to secure the employee's signatures on a form that indicates that they are both freely choosing to engage in a relationship outside of the business environment.

The contract should stipulate that both participants acknowledge that their relationship shall not be permitted to influence the business relationship in any way. It should also acknowledge that the signers fear no pressure to continue the relationship and should fear no retribution if they choose at any time to end the relationship. Finally, the document should make certain that the process for reporting any feeling of harassment is clearly stated and agreed upon.

You should always consult with a professional in this field before implementing such policies. That is what we can do for you.

2. A Court Ruling on Title VII Harassment Claim Next Page

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