In an era when sexual harassment is a real concern for organizations, the notion of two employees dating each other does have potential for some tricky policy questions.
Some argue that if both parties are in a consensual relationship, what they do on their own time has no bearing on the company and should not be prohibited.
So, what do you do if Cupid strikes two of your employees? There are consequences for the company, particularly if the relationship is between a manager and a subordinate.
“By turning a blind eye, the owner not only could be unaware of potential sexual harassment and a resulting lawsuit, but could be accused of willful ignorance, thus exacerbating the harm to the subordinate and the resulting injury award,” warns David Scher, principal attorney for the Employment Law Group.
Before you head off to work thinking that you’ll come home with an annual bonus and a husband, though, you need to know your company’s policies on co-workers dating.
While some companies are lax when it comes to relationships outside of work, others strictly prohibit off-hours fraternization between employees.
Your coworkers do not need to know the intimate details of your romance," she says.
Being in a relationship where someone knows those demands and how that can likely impact time and availability is vital for any kind of relationship growth.
You never know who will see them."This means that you should both have a discussion from the beginning about how to conduct yourselves, what both of you want out of the relationship, and how to handle the situation if the relationship falls apart, says Pachter.
Pachter says there should never be any physical displays of affection when in a professional setting.
Others argue that when two co-workers are in a relationship, it has the potential to create uncomfortable situations for everyone -– imagine a staff meeting where two team members have been arguing about their relationship, and those feelings spill over into the meeting -– and thus dating should be prohibited.
No one wants to hear about how a co-worker leaves his socks on the floor, or other more personal details.