Dating relationship in the workplace

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There is California precedent that suggests that employers can prohibit some types of workplace dating relationships.

For instance, romantic relationships in the workplace that jeopardize supervision, efficiency, morale or security could all potentially impact the legitimate business interests of an employer, and an employer may be justified in limiting these types of romantic relationships in the workplace.

Third parties may take note of the relationship and challenge any preferential treatment that the superior is displaying.

Most commonly, the former lovebirds may clash after a breakup and either harass one another while at work, or fabricate workplace sexual harassment to retaliate against an ex.

A recent Workplace Options survey found that 84% of workers ages 18-29 say that they would have a romantic relationship with a coworker, compared to only 36% of workers ages 30-46 and 29% of Boomers ages 47 to 66.

In addition, 40% of young workers report that they wouldn't have a problem dating a supervisor, compared to only 10% of their counterparts in older age brackets.

Or, it could raise a conflict of interest within the business.

But, California Labor Code protects an employee's right to privacy to engage in whatever lawful activity an employee wants while he or she is off the clock and away from work premises. That said, not all co-worker dating relationships are protected.

As a California employee, you cannot be fired solely because you are dating a co-worker.

Instead of "anti-fraternization" or "no-dating" policies, policies that prohibit sexual harassment and discrimination -- and encourage employees to come forward with complaints -- are encouraged.

This way, if an office romance does lead to harassment, the employer will have notice of the problem and be able to take action.

They may fail to consider the potential conflict of interest and the distractions the relationship will bring forward.

Even if workplace relationships are inevitable, they shouldn't take place between boss and subordinate, among coworkers who work directly together, or between an employee and a vendor.

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