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There were 617 respondents to the survey and 72 percent of these people said that there was no written policy at all while 14 percent said that there was an unwritten rule in the office that is understood by everyone who works there.On the other hand, 13 percent of the people polled said that their company does have a policy in place when it comes to dating.For example, in 2007, a high-ranking executive at a major financial institution was forced to step down when it was discovered that he gave his girlfriend, another company employee, a pay raise.A supervisor showing favoritism toward his girlfriend is the least of your potential problems, however.NEW YORK EMPLOYMENT LAW LETTER does not attempt to offer solutions to individual problems but rather to provide information about current developments in New York employment law.Questions about individual problems should be addressed to the employment law attorney of your choice.If employees do not disclose their relationships, employers will be unable to monitor such relationships, and therefore cannot monitor workplace interactions to assure fair treatment and that harassment or favoritism does not occur.A policy requiring disclosure permits the employer to document the consensual nature of the relationship, and take precautionary measures, including changing reporting structures and providing guidance regarding appropriate workplace conduct.
According to a workplace romance survey done by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), the majority of companies have no formal or written policy concerning relationships that involve co-workers.If a relationship between a supervisor and a subordinate or between coworkers ends on a sour note, one of the employees may claim that it wasn’t consensual, that he was sexually harassed, or that she was retaliated against if she receives a poor performance review from her former paramour.In 2008, more than 13,867 sexual harassment claims were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) . Given those potential issues, what should employers do? You can implement a broad no-dating policy or an antinepotism policy, enforce a notification procedure, or simply do nothing at all.Relationships between supervisors and subordinates do create problems, though.Other workers may claim that the subordinate employee received preferential treatment.
If a total ban on office dating is contrary to your company’s culture, you have many other options to decrease your liability from office romances.