Happy Valentine’s Day!
Ahh, love is in the air – ain’t it great! Not so much when it comes to work.
We are frequently called upon to address the question of workplace relationships. I mean, come on, we spend at least 8 hours a day with these people – where else are you going to meet people that have similar likes and dislikes? I LOVE this adage: “Don’t get your honey where you get your money!” NSFW reference (I met mine in graduate school, so he calls us college sweethearts!)
While I don’t go to the extent of recommending a “no fraternization” policy (because then I’d have to practice that, and I LIKE the people I work with,) I do HIGHLY recommend employers discourage workplace romances.
The relationship may make other employees uncomfortable. There should be NO PDA at work, but we must be realistic too. Not only will the PDA slip into work, but the spats will too. Hmm, could be a Hostile Work Environment brewing.
When the relationship ends (which we hope it doesn’t,) what if one party is still interested? Unrequited love could be a Hostile Work Environment brewing.
They are a supervisor and an employee. Please refer to Pitfall #2 and add a pinch of potential “quid pro quo” harassment.
What can I do as an employer?
- You can implement a no fraternization policy but see my comments above
- You can have a less formal policy that discusses just romantic relationships
- You CAN have a conversation with the love birds and tell them the following:
- NO PDA at work – you are NOT a couple when you are in ‘my house’
- Review your unlawful harassment policy with them together AND individually making sure they understand the repercussions of their actions
- Review your unlawful harassment policy with them AGAIN if/when they break up
- DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT
Not sure if your Unlawful Harassment Policy is up to snuff per the recommended guidelines of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission? Send a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org for a free evaluation!