Implications of dating at work
For example, if they exchange personal and/or intimate messages while using a department computer on company time, the employer is within rights to take action as long as an electronic messaging policy is in place.Based in Arizona, Lori Corrigan is a social media collaborator with more than 25 years of experience in research writing and editing.
Moreover, the burden of liability may fall upon the employer if one of the romantic pair files a harassment complaint that's not immediately addressed and rectified.While employers may not be happy with knowing their subordinates are fraternizing, they may respect the couple's privacy as long as the relationship does not detrimentally impact either employee's job performance.Should such concerns as favoritism from one toward the other, arguing in the office or decline in productivity arise, the boss has reason to step in.What employees do on their own time is beyond the scope of workplace policy; however, once the relationship spills over into office space, the amorous coworkers cross a line that takes them into more legally stringent territory.Interpersonal relationships play a critical role in daily workplace operation; without the ability to create rapport, employees may not establish strong communication.Given how much time people spend in the workplace, it's easy to understand the lure of dating coworkers; when those working relationships cross over into office romances, however, the moral component of such intimate interaction comes into play.
The desire to curb romances with a no-dating policy has increased with the growing awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace.
This heightened awareness aside, companies are not jumping on the no-dating bandwagon as much as it might seem; just 12 percent of survey respondents in 2003 implemented such a policy, according to the American Management Association (AMA), with the majority specifically prohibiting morally questionable boss/employee fraternizing.
Even with such a rule in place, there may be little legal power to enforce it if the state considers it privacy infringement.
To sidestep this possibility, employers can impose an ethics code that more solidly supports the company's stance.
The ethical components of an office affair can impact other employees if it's known that one or both workers are cheating on their spouses with another staff member.
The workplace can also turn hostile once the affair is over and the one-time lovers are not emotionally capable of working in the same space.