Workplace Romance Law – Every day coworkers get romantically involved. What does the law say in regards to these workplace relationships. What should employers and employees know about workplace romance?
There is no doubt that workplace romance is prevalent in an office environment. Coworkers get involved in relationship and so do supervisors and their subordinates. It’s easy to imagine why office relationship occur. People spend a huge amount of their waking hours at work and, as such, with their coworkers. Dating at work can seem like a good idea since people get to know each other easily and can find someone with whom they share interests.
Actually workplace romance can increase productivity and morale. After all a good relationship can make a person happy and that can translate to the workplace in the form of work ethic. Of course this is not always the case and these relationships can often cause some harm in the workplace. Here you can find a guide on How to Have a Successful Office Romance.
Typically, an employee’s personal life if not the business of their employer. However, office romance may cause the employee’s personal life to conflict with their job duties. Workplace relationships can quickly devolve into a hostile workplace environment and cause a huge aftermath of problems for the employer.
Most employers do not establish a policy in this regard since it imposes on the individual’s personal rights. You also do not want to create an environment where people involved in a relationship have to hide it and sneak around the office in fear of reprisal.
Workplace romance law is slightly ambiguous. Typically an employer need not get involved when two coworkers get romantically engaged. Of course issues can certainly arise such as displays of affection around other employees or sexual banter of any kind. These types of situations can cause others to become uncomfortable and can evolve into a hostile workplace environment due to the sexual nature of their behavior.
However, if a relationship develops between a subordinate and his or her supervisor then there is a need for the employer to get involved according to Workplace Romance Law. Gossip can be used be the courts as a means of information to the employer. That means that the employer can be liable if they’ve heard rumors and took no action.
Most issues can be overcome with the right communication. Most employees, when told their jobs might be at risk, can be persuaded to keep their relationship out of the workplace. Employers will often try and put the two people in separate departments to keep their relationship from effecting their direct work environment. This can be difficult in small companies where so many job responsibilities overlap.
You should know and protect your rights if you’ve been subjected to reprisal by your employer or been the subject of a hostile workplace environment. Contact our NYC Hostile Work Environment Lawyers for a free and confidential consultation.