It isn't uncommon for employees from the same company to begin romantic relationships with each other. However, employers in New York and around the country are taking steps to ensure that the business is protected if the relationship goes bad. For instance, some companies are asking employees to sign documents saying that each party consented to the relationship. Others have taken more general steps to let employees know what is expected of them if a relationship doesn't work out.
At a minimum, companies should have policies in place to prevent sexual harassment. It may also be a good idea to have policies relating to whether or not employees can date each other. Even if employers choose not to prohibit dating on the job, they may need to step in to make sure that employees are treated properly. One owner had to tell an employee to stop being jealous of his girlfriend or to find another job.
Business owners who are thinking about prohibiting workers from dating each other may find that there are pitfalls to that decision. Those who want to be in a relationship may choose to hide what they are doing from an employer. Some may decide to leave the company as opposed to ending a relationship that they find to be fulfilling.
Generally speaking, employers should take every sexual harassment claim seriously. Failing to do so could expose companies to liability for creating hostile working conditions. This may result in an organization paying damages. It may also tarnish the reputation of that business in the eyes of the public. An attorney may be able to help business owners create policies that may help to prevent sexual harassment from occurring. Such policies may also reduce any legal liability a company may otherwise face.