With Valentine’s Day just behind us, cupid may have left a few arrows in the workplace. workforce study found that 37 percent of workers have dated a coworker at some point in their career.
People spend a lot of time at work and even more time at office lunches and happy hours, so it is not uncommon for workplace relationships to evolve into intimate relationships. When romantic relationships enter the workplace, the relationship is no longer just between two people, but can affect coworkers, supervisors, and the public.
This may be the right decision if an employee has a pattern or practice of engaging in office relationships that disrupt the workplace.
Employers should uniformly enforce anti-nepotism and anti-fraternization policies.
Under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), it is unlawful for an employer to subject an employee to different terms and conditions of employment because of the employee’s sex. The first type is “Quid pro quo” harassment, which occurs when submission to sexual conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a condition of a job, a job benefit, or the absence of a job detriment.
The California Court of Appeal has upheld policies that require a supervisor to bring a consensual intimate relationship with an employee to management’s attention for appropriate action.
Employers with represented employees should also remember that they should negotiate anti-nepotism or anti-fraternization policies with employee organizations through the meet and confer process.
Love Contracts In the past, employers would occasionally put “love contracts” into place when they discovered a romantic relationship.
(See ) Once an employer learns of a romantic workplace relationship, the employer should immediately explore all options and take non-discriminatory corrective action.
Pursuant to a policy, employers can reassign or transfer one or both of the employees.