Co-workers mingle constantly. Friendships and bonds are formed that can ultimately help your team perform at a higher capacity. According to Perkins Asbill employment law attorneys, however, those friendships can quickly turn into blossoming romances that hold the potential for legal disaster.
While there’s nothing wrong with two adults falling for one another, there are dozens of issues that can arise from workplace relationships. That’s why so many companies choose to ban them altogether. If you’re still on the fence about “outlawing” office romance, then consider the following.
The Legal Aspect
It doesn’t take an expert to know that not every relationship formed is going to last. While that goes for friendships too, romantic entanglements tend to end on a sour note. With nearly half of all HR professionals reporting relationships in their workplaces, that means an excruciating number of bad breakups take place each year.
While you might hope that your employees can handle breakups like adults, that isn’t always the case. Retaliation from one or both parties can lead to sexual harassment lawsuits that no employer wants to deal with.
You may find yourself in a position where you lose one or both employees involved, regardless of their quality of work. In other cases, your place of business may come under scrutiny for allowing sexual harassment to take place even if you didn’t know about it happening at the time.
The Management Aspect
It isn’t uncommon for superiors to form relationships with their employees, either. Not only do most employees feel that a manager dating a coworker creates a biased work environment, the legal ramifications from that relationship ending could lead to civil claim.
The possibility of a sexual harassment suit more than doubles when the relationship is between a manager and an employee. In most cases, only one party wants the romance to end. This can lead to unwanted advancements that quickly fall into the realm of harassment.
The Team Aspect
Banning relationships in the workplace isn’t just recommended due to the possibility of legal issues. Did you know that these types of romances also have a negative impact on your teams? When a relationship ends on a sour note, the consequences of a falling out can leak into your employees’ daily work environment.
From gossip to rumors and innuendos, the two employees involved often feel harassed. Furthermore, the quality of work of the entire team can take a drastic downturn while everyone is wrapped up in this unfolding soap opera. Often times, one or more employees seek jobs elsewhere after a breakup.
All three situations impact your business negatively and may impact customer satisfaction. Employers circumvent these issues by creating strict workplace relationship policies and enforcing them with consequences like termination and transferring an employee to another location within the company.
Regardless of the outcome, a workplace romance can spell disaster for you and your business. While you can’t stop every employee from getting hit with Cupid’s arrow, you can prevent a hefty lawsuit by placing a ban on relationships in the workplace.