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Non-fraternization policies One option for employers is to completely prohibit relationships at work in order to reduce the risk of sexual harassment and related claims by instituting a "non-fraternization" policy.
However, these policies can have negative effects as well.
Just last month, Gary Friedman, the chief executive of Restoration Hardware, stepped down in the middle of the company's public offering. A couple years ago, Hewlett-Packard's chief executive, Mike Hurd, resigned amid accusations of falsifying expense reports to hide a personal relationship with an independent contractor.
The legal issue is what I like to call the "amplification" of potential liability that always exists around the employer-employee relationship.
Employers should have a clear anti-harassment policy in place that outlines what behavior is acceptable and unacceptable.
Such policies should clearly state that employees are safe from retaliation if they come forth with any harassment claims.
Relationships between supervisors and subordinates create even more potential problems.
In a better scenario, coworkers would find it easier to claim that an employee received preferential treatment from a supervisor he or she is dating.