When relationships develop into situations that may be viewed as harassment or discrimination, employees should refer to the Anti-Harassment Policy and the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy. When companies allow their employees to have contact with clients through social media, they may restrict what types of messages or photos employees can send to a customer. Your openness will help to dispel rumors and claims of favoritism. Evaluate the structure of your business, and identify areas of higher risks, in the event of a romantic relationship. Employees usually work hour days and often socialize together outside of the office. As companies grow and add employees, you will often see signs of budding workplace relationships. Dealing With Personal Relationships at Work: Focus on creating a positive office environment for all employees. So here it goes again: The other employee involved in the relationship is encouraged to disclose the relationship to either the next level of administrator, Employee Relations or the EAD. In any case, when employees are unsure about a potential conflict, they should fully disclose the circumstances in writing to their supervisor. Approved by Traci K. Nobody would be punished or fired. There will foreseeably be claims of favoritism, or even discrimination or harassment.
However, children may not visit the workplace if their presence conflicts with department policy, federal or state law. Foster communication with your employees without judgment. With the help of a lawyer and your human resources team, establish some workplace guidelines that specifically define what will happen if performance standards are not met and state how claims of sexual harassment are handled. You don't necessarily need to report that you met a client for a friendly cup of coffee, but if you reach the stage where the relationship could potentially have some impact on your company, it's better to let your boss know about the situation before he finds out about it himself. Earlier this year, Best Buy's chief executive, Brian Dunn, stepped down after an investigation by the board discovered he had shown "extremely poor judgment" with a year-old female employee. Make sure all your employees are aware of these policies. You have to define and often describe the conduct you want to prohibit. Will the policy restrict casual dating, relationships, romantic involvement, or socializing? These relationships, even if consensual, may ultimately result in conflict or difficulties in the workplace. If the conversation seems to be veering in the wrong direction, try to bring it back to professional topics, or casually mention your significant other. To date, that scenario hasn't occurred. Dorie Clark, a personal branding expert and author of Reinventing You: Can you even define those terms? So far, the relationships have not had a negative impact on the working environment. GENERAL If a relationship is deemed to be inappropriate under these guidelines, the appropriate department head or next level of administrator, after consultation with the EAD and a Human Resources Consultant will take appropriate action. Some employers choose not to ban this type of relationship or may simply overlook the need for a policy, but that doesn't mean that dating a client will have no repercussions for the employer or for your career. Voluntary Disclosure In companies with no policy against dating co-workers, the most professional thing to do is to let your supervisor know about the relationship once you've been dating long enough to consider it potentially serious. Sexual innuendos, jokes or inappropriate physical contact can also be considered harassment. The policy might also state that the employee can be terminated from employment if the company concludes that the relationship is harmful to its interests. The company should also have a policy regarding sexual harassment. Romantic or sexual relationships between employees where one individual has influence or control over the other's conditions of employment are inappropriate. Your employees may also be dating your clients, vendors or even employees of your competitor. If you, as the company's CEO or owner, are involved with an employee, report the relationship to the supervisor of the human resources department. Cultural attitudes seem to be changing toward in-office romance. Essentially, any relationship between two people that could have a negative effect on the company if things sour, or if one party is able to improperly influence the other would fall under the policy. Personal problems between the couple can cause strain and difficulties with on-the-job communication, or lead to claims of stalking or harassment.
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