In an era of lawsuits, it’s wise for organizations to have a written or verbal employee dating policy.These policies clarify the company’s rules on relationships between coworkers, supervisors and subordinates, as well as employees and clients, vendors, and competitors.Though traditionally maligned for reasons I’m about to get into, office romance can be beneficial for businesses. Lane III, author of , sees employee dating as a way to increase employee engagement.He argues that co-worker couples spend more time at work, take fewer sick days, and are less likely to quit.That percentage is on the rise, and it’s no surprise: we spend one-third of our lives at work.So, is it possible to allow cupid’s arrows in the office—but steer clear of legal landmines?When a workplace relationship goes south, the parties involved must still see each other every day in the office.This can lead to awkward encounters, and the potential for claims of sexual harassment and retaliation.
22% of workers say they suffered retaliation after an office romance ended.
Retaliation can take many forms: termination, shift changes, pay cuts, transfers, and other adverse actions have been found to be retaliatory.
Over the past 10 years, retaliation claims grew 70%—and are now the most common type of complaint with the EEOC.
In some states, privacy laws prevent an employer from restricting employee relationships—unless a conflict of interest is involved.
A romantic relationship between a supervisor and subordinate provides the potential for a conflict and the opportunity for the employer to require a love contract.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, there’s an uptick in whiteboard hearts and watercooler gossip.