There tends to be a ripple effect when it comes to workplace relationships. The employer gains the benefit of knowing that up to the time the agreement is “signed,” there has been no claimed harassment, and if it develops, the duty to report it is squarely on the shoulders of the involved. Harassment often occurs via digital communications and, in the workplace, frequently via an employer’s phone, computer, or network.

Implement an anti-harassment policy.

It also functions to prohibit against sexual harassment and other forms of harassment. The meaning of harassment however can range from an ongoing set of behaviours that “ought to be known to be unwelcome” or a single act that should be viewed as similarly inappropriate or unwelcome. Without excluding other types of behaviour, this concept can of course apply to actions such as repeatedly trying to ask someone out. It can similarly apply to PDA in the workplace which often times has the effect of making those around you uncomfortable. In any professional setting, it is important to maintain a level of professionalism and respect for your co-workers. However, sometimes personal relationships can develop in the workplace.

But she added that employers need to be careful to balance the company’s need to protect itself from harassment claims with employees’ privacy rights. A subordinate employee’s refusal to sign a love contract is a red flag, Ullrich said, and the employer should ask why the employee refuses to sign. “An employer may need to conduct an investigation into these issues if an employee refuses to sign the agreement,” she said. “It would be wise to review any such agreements to see if they can be strengthened, including the employee acknowledgment of the consensual nature of the relationship and the company’s complaint reporting avenues,” Miller noted.

How to Avoid Affairs in Workplace?

Third parties may take note of the relationship and challenge any preferential treatment that the superior is displaying. Most commonly, the former lovebirds may clash after a breakup and either harass one another while at work, or fabricate workplace sexual harassment to retaliate against an ex. But, when an employer does have an established policy, it tends to discourage employees from dating, rather than to strictly forbid it. Ultimately, romantic relationships are people’s own business, except when they negatively affect an employer’s legitimate business interest, create a conflict of interest, or otherwise impact the workplace. In a consensual relationship between a supervisor and a subordinate, the subordinate often is the recipient of preferential treatment.

If there is a strict antifraternization policy, however, the only options are to avoid the relationship or for one of you to leave the company. Keep in mind that people talk and your reputation in your industry could be tarnished if you have a messy and public breakup, says Ms. Staaterman. Find out your employer’s policy and think carefully before you decide whether to date someone at work. As such, these relationships would always require disclosure to allow the conflict to be appropriately managed. Maintaining a good working relationship requires communication, respect, and positivity.

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Expectations should be clearly stated during regular, periodic sexual harassment trainings. This ensures that company policies, expectations, and guidelines are directly and clearly communicated to your employees, and there is no confusion regarding issues of dating in the workplace or sexual harassment. The fact is that we are all human beings and when you put human beings together for eight or 10 hours a day stuff is just going to happen. But in the #MeToo era, companies need to be more vigilant about behaviors once deemed acceptable – or at least tolerated – in the workplace. Even the most well-starred romantic relationships in an office can end up stirring up all sorts of emotions and have a toxic impact not only on other workers but on overall productivity.

Advice here is for informational purposes only and should not be considered final or official advice. Meanwhile I’m locking the thread as almost every comment has been moral judgment and not legal advice. If you’re not interested in continuing the relationship, be honest and let them down easy. It’s also important that you have a talk about what happened during the affair. Studies have shown that people who maintain eye contact and face their bodies towards each other are more likely to develop an emotional connection. In addition, touching and leaning in close to someone can also create a feeling of intimacy.

Communicate your concerns to employees when their personal actions cause professional problems or questions. Allowing the romantic behavior in the office to persist causes strain, tension and discomfort for other employees. In this case, Mr Mihalopoulos was a manager in an extramarital relationship with a subordinate. While Westpac policies did not specifically refer to office relationships, Mr Mihalopoulos’ employment contract did require that Mr Mihalopoulos avoid situations which could give rise to real or perceived conflict of interest. Again, such policies and contracts can breach privacy rights, and may not be effective in preventing harassment claims.

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On the other hand, if a workplace romance creates a hostile environment, favoritism or discrimination, termination may be fair. In the past, love contracts were more prevalent when a supervisor and subordinate were in a relationship, even if the supervisor wasn’t the subordinate’s boss. “In light of the #MeToo movement, employers might more actively consider such agreements between co-workers,” Miller stated. Put dating and anti-harassment policies near each other, recommended Rachel Ullrich, an attorney with FordHarrison in Dallas. “I often see employee dating policies in completely different sections of the employee handbook than the sexual harassment and retaliation policies, even though they deal with similar subject matter,” she said.