Conflict of interest dating in the workplace

The main legal risks with workplace relationships are sexual harassment, conflict of interest, and violence in the workplace.Outside of legal risks, there are of course management issues that can arise. had a short-term relationship with a female subordinate which produced an unplanned child.

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Despite these efforts, the subordinate quit and sued for sexual harassment, and now the nonprofit is using more time and energy proving that the relationship was consensual, that there was no harassment, and that the performance problems were real.

Under the law, employers are strictly liable for sexual harassment of subordinates by their supervisors.

But between co-workers employers only have liability if the sexual harassment is unwelcome, severe, and pervasive, and the employer knew about it but failed to take prompt, corrective action.

At our organization, two members of the executive team are married to one another.

I've been tasked with updating our Employee Handbook.

Many of the sample handbooks seem to have anti-nepotism or conflict of interest policies which prohibit employees from dating or being in a relationship with co-workers.Are we legally required to prohibit office relationships?Signed: In a Quandary Over Love Love may be a many splendored thing, but love is a battlefield, too.And therein lies the rub for every employers' HR practices in this area. However, there are some legal principles and practical matters to consider as you decide what policy best suits your agency in dealing with these real-life "love connections."People looking for a simple solution may advocate a complete no-fraternization policy.This is one of those topics where employer policies are all over the map, especially in the nonprofit world where it is not uncommon for agencies to be founded by families or spouses. But this strident viewpoint ignores the reality of work/life blending supported by a 2010 survey that found 37% of workers have dated someone they met at work and 30% of them have married a workmate.Rather than adopting a policy that outright prohibits intimate relationships at work, you may find that a more workable policy strives to balance the needs of your organization with the realities of life.

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