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  • Keeping an Office Romance from Becoming Sexual Harassment

    Among 9-to-5ers in the United States, office romance is a commonplace occurrence, to say the least. For one, office relationships have been dramatized for years and years both on the big screen and on television shows such as NBC’s The Office. A poll issued by Career Builder last year showed that 4 out of every 10 people surveyed admitted to being involved in some type of romantic office relationship. While office relationships may not seem like a big deal for employees at the time, it is ultimately the employer who is responsible for clarifying office romance policies so that the company will not be liable if sexual harassment in the workplace occurs.

    Setting Clear Office Romance Policies

    Establishing strict office romance policies is the first step in keeping employees clearly in the know about what romantic behavior is crossing the line and what is not. Make sure all your bases are covered. A good office romance policy should clearly state what type of conduct is appropriate between co-workers in the office. A good office romance policy will also offer any employee involved several clear avenues through which he or she may file a sexual harassment lawsuit should one become necessary and applicable. Call an experienced attorney, such as a sexual harassment lawyer in Orange County, if your company’s policy needs to be reviewed.

    Furthermore, effective sexual harassment policies will be distributed to and understood by all employees in a given workplace. If your workers know their rights and obligations when it comes to office romance, they will hopefully act all the more responsibly when choosing to get involved in an office relationship. All employees should be required to agree to and sign any updated changes made to the company’s sexual harassment policy. Regular sexual harassment training sessions may also be held to keep everybody in the know. If you need help establishing effective office romance policies in California, then contact a sexual harassment lawyer. Orange County has many trained sexual harassment attorneys who will be happy to help protect both you and your employees.

    Decide in Advance whether Dating Co-Workers is O.K.

    Some employers choose to ban dating among co-workers altogether. This can eliminate confusion about office relationships and provide the company with more protection from sexual harassment lawsuits, but it can also discourage employees and make them feel unhappy or violated. If you need help writing a strict anti-fraternization policy in order to prevent office relationships from getting unprofessional, call a sexual harassment lawyer in Orange County. A sexual harassment lawyer in Orange County will be able to advise you about the right way to enforce policies against office romance without invading the privacy of your employees.

    Establish Strict Rules against Office Romance between Bosses and Subordinates

    Any professional workplace should have a clear office romance policy outlining that it is strictly against the rules for a manger to date one of his or her subordinate employees, and vice versa. While dating among co-workers of equal status may be complicated, an office relationship between, for example, the president of a company and his or her personal assistant can lead to a very serious sexual harassment lawsuit on grounds such as favoritism or forced sexual advances. These legal accusations can be truly detrimental to the reputation of a company.

    In the office, relationships between bosses and their subordinates should be kept strictly professional at all times. Any boss-subordinate couple who does choose to engage in office romance should be required to report their choice to the company, so that one member of the pair may either be relocated to separate department or severed from the company.

    Contact a sexual harassment lawyer in Orange County if you need more information about how to handle office romance at any level. A sexual harassment lawyer will help you learn how to best handle a relationship that emerges between a boss and a subordinate employee. Furthermore, if you need help writing up a “cupid contract” requiring all employees to report their office romances, you may elicit the help of a sexual harassment lawyer in Orange County as well. It’s better to get everything straightened out on paper to avoid bad experiences with sexual harassment lawsuits in the future.