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Avoid Workplace Romance Lawsuits

February 16, 1999
Related Topics: Harassment, Policies and Procedures, Featured Article
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Valentine's Day may be over, but romance in the workplace is not. Here are three preventative measures an employment attorney recommends you take to avoid related lawsuits.

Be serious about commitment.
Have and enforce an anti-harassment policy. Make sure no one suffers retaliation or adverse job action as a result of making a complaint.

Use protection.
Have a policy which addresses relationships between management and non-management employees or between a supervisor and a direct report. For example, policies requiring that the relationship must be reported to the company are gaining popularity. These "confessional" policies re-emphasize the company's anti-harassment policy and get sign-off that the relationship is consensual.

Talk to me.
If you learn of a relationship that has ended, talk to the employees, confirm the relationship is over and that there will be no workplace problems as a result. Supervisors should make sure the employees know how to make a complaint, should anything go wrong.

Source: Baba Zipkin, Partner, Hall Dickler Kent Friedman & Wood LLP.


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