Though the heady days of Spring have long since passed, there may still be love in the air around your business. If that love were entirely devoted toward the job there would be no need for concern, but employees looking for or finding romance while on the clock may leave your business with a broken heart and empty pockets.
This is not to say, of course, that a little workplace romance will necessarily land your company in hot water. In truth, trying to put a stop to any and all flirtation would hardly pass in this day and age: the sheer number of portrayals of office romances in TV and film reflect a societal consensus that it’s okay to find love in the workplace. Plus, people spend a lot of time at work interacting with their peers and sometimes emotional attachments arise naturally – and you can’t regulate human feelings. But none of this is to say that there aren’t actions you can take to thwart costly litigation, not to mention to protecting the peace of mind of your team members.
Some 43% of human resources managers have documented incidences of office romances in the last year, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. The primary threat to your business and to the wellbeing of your employees is when the attraction is one-sided–the occurrence of sexual harassment in the workplace may put your company in court if it hasn’t done enough to prevent it. Moreover, the bottom line of your company suffers when gossip and resentment create a negative work environment.
So what actions can you take as business owner? As with many things, clear rules can be a lifesaver. There is no room for ambiguity when defining what is inacceptable in your workplace and what the consequences will be. Employees should know that any romantic relationship requires making the employer aware–especially if it is between a supervisor and his or her employees.
Having put these policies in place, it is vital that employers acquaint their employees with the rules and instruct them on the actions they should take, particularly when it comes to sexual harassment training.
Lastly, the final key to effective policies is uniform enforcement at all levels of the organization. Seeing that the rules can be ignored by anyone with seniority will greatly affect morale in your work environment and lead your business towards costly legal consequences.
Whether big or small, your company is better off having clear-cut rules on romance in the workplace. The devastating costs of an employment lawsuit means even a company of fewer than ten people will benefit from taking the time to craft an effective policy.
To learn more about maintaining good employment law practices, call us today at (612) 206-3701 or fill out our contact form to schedule a business consultation session.
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