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: