EMPLOYMENT LAW – MANAGER & EMPLOYEE DATING
It is not uncommon for co-workers to date. After all, the workplace is where most people spend the majority of their waking hours. But, when those co-workers are in a manager/subordinate relationship, the problems can be even more pronounced. In fact, some organizations have policies that prohibit these types of relationships.
Prohibited By Policy?
According to Vault.com’s 2010 Office Romance Survey, almost 60 percent of respondents admitted to having participated in some form of workplace romance. Manager/employee dating, in particular, may be prohibited by policy so it is always a good idea to check with the HR department or take a look at the policy handbook to see what rules your company has. Employers have a reason to worry. In 2008, more than 13,867 sexual harassment claims were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Harassment Claims And Preferential Treatment
When a supervisor is dating a subordinate, other coworkers might claim that the subordinate received preferential treatment in job assignments or pay raises, says a partner with the labor and employment practice of Kirkpatrick Lockhart Nicholson Graham. Even if policies don’t prohibit these relationships, this is a consideration that whoever is in the power position needs to consider seriously. Any kind of favoritism toward one employee over others is obviously a concern in the workplace.
What Will Co-workers Think?
The Society for Human Resource Management and CareerJournal.com conducted a Workplace Romance survey in 2006 and found that only 9 percent of HR professionals surveyed indicated that dating among employees was prohibited in their organizations. More than 70 percent did not have formal written or verbal policies dealing with romantic relationships. However, the numbers changed sharply when the dating relationship changed from being between co-workers to being between manager and subordinate – 80 percent believed that relationships between supervisors and subordinates should be prohibited.
Keeping It Professional
Even in environments where relationships are permitted in the workplace between managers and subordinates, those involved in these relationships need to maintain a professional distance while on the job.
If The Relationship Ends
Not all relationships last forever, of course, but if and when the relationship between manager and subordinate ends, the work relationship may need to continue. That can be uncomfortable for both parties as well as for co-workers.
Reference: Leigh Richards, Chron