A guy may prefer barbecue-type holidays, such as Memorial Day or the Fourth of July, over Valentine’s Day. As employers, you probably should, too, even if it is for different reasons.

A CareerBuilder survey published in 2011 found approximately 40% of workers have dated at least one person with whom they have worked, and 18% reported dating at least two people with whom they have worked. Clearly, workplace romance is pervasive. With it can come a host of unwanted side-effects, including loss of productivity, ethical dilemmas, depressed morale, and sexual harassment claims.

Sexual harassment claims can arise in a variety of situations, including when a workplace romance goes south.  They can also arise from what one employee might find to be a light-hearted joke, card or funny e-mail, sent to an employee who does not see the humor and might be completely offended.  A sexual harassment claim can even arise when a thoughtful boss gives a Valentine’s Day gift to an employee for a job well done, and the message is misinterpreted.

Since Valentine’s Day is upon us, take this opportunity to carefully review your policies addressing sexual harassment and workplace romances. As you do, consider the following:


  1. Continue Reading A Potential Valentine’s Day Equation: flowers + chocolates = sexual harassment

A couple of events prompted this post.  First, as I was driving to work last week, I saw a car sporting an "Insured by Smith & Wesson" bumper sticker.  Perhaps this will officially out me as an employment law nerd, but, being that it was on a vehicle, this bumper sticker made me think of Florida’s Bring Gun to Work, which I’ve posted about before.  Interestingly (scarily?), that law (Fla. Stat. 790.251) is one of the most searched terms on this blog.

Then, as those of you in this area have undoubtedly heard, there was an incident in Naples where an Ave Maria School of Law student was arrested for attempted murder, after allegedly threatening to shoot and even shooting at two fellow law students. This story has received widespread media coverage.  Of course the local papers like the News-Press and Naples Daily News have covered it with multiple articles, but it was even picked up by national legal publications like the ABA Journal (article) and top legal blog Above the Law(article).

How is this relevant to you and your workplace?  Interestingly (to the employment law dork, at least!), the Above the Law article quotes Ave Maria’s spokesperson, who said the school "doesn’t have a policy regarding students who are arrested."  Now, this guy was a student, not an employee, but this quote still raises a whole host of issues in my mind.  Should you have a policy on arrests?  Should you have a policy on workplace violence?  What if your employee is arrested for a violent act after hours, remains employed, then later commits a violent act at work?

While I could go on at length about these and other issues implicated here, I want to focus on a couple of things you, as business owners and HR professionals, can — and should — do to address violence at your workplace.

More after the jump.


Continue Reading Insured by Smith & Wesson: Revisiting Workplace Violence Issues

Most employers know about Florida’s “Bring Gun to Work” law, even if they do not agree with it.  The law, which is codified as Florida Statute Section 790.251 prevents employers (with a few exceptions) from banning firearms on their premises under certain conditions.  More specifically, if the employer has an employee with a concealed weapons

With the mountains of paperwork in the workplace these days, HR professionals often question what should — and what should not — be kept in an employee’s personnel file.  Should it be every single document that refers to the employee?  Should it only be the “important” documents like applications and disciplinary records?  Or should it

The Shelter for Abused Women & Children in Naples recently launched a new website intended to assist victims of domestic violence, a recent Southwest Florida News-Press article reports. The website includes a variety of information, including tips on how victims can stay safe at work. Tips suggest, among other things, that victims show a picture of the