Dealing with Workplace Relationships
It is not only through new bits that you hear of illicit relationships and inappropriate conduct. You only need to look at your workplace to know that this is happening in the very place where we work. Employers need to manage this aspect of employee relationship and to be able to do it effectively, there needs to be a systematic plan in dealing with these cases. And, it has to be followed diligently.
Romantic relationships, inappropriate behavior and harassment are separated by a mere thin line. The reason for this is that consensual relationships can turn sour. Sometimes employees think that entering relationships is required to succeed or to advance. There are even cases when employees are threatened that the relationship is a requirement of the job.
Employers should protect themselves and their employees to prevent and correct harassment, without stifling consensual, non-workplace conduct.
Here are some ways that this problem can be dealt with.
You can protect yourself and your employees with a solid harassment prevention policy. This can only be effective it is identifies who is to be protected, what conduct is prohibited, and informing employees where to report problems and get help. IF employees approach supervisors and employers about workplace problems, then they should be able to deal with the situation in the best manner. All employees should be given a copy of the policy and they should know whom to approach to answer their questions. You are then assured that all your workers know the policy.
The law does not require harassment training, but it is good to have one so that employers will have a defense when challenged. There are some states where harassment training is required.
When employees are trained to prevent unlawful harassment and discrimination than your company can avoid or prevent potential damages or litigations. This also shows employees that the company takes issues seriously.
Relationships can be restricted by employers if there is potential conflict of interest. One such relationship is that which exist between a superior and a subordinate. This relationship can possibly interfere with business judgment. This is why many employers’ policies discourage or prohibit relationships that can cause this conflict.
Not every relationship is harassment. A hostile environment is created when relationships change. discipline should be imposed on an employee that exhibits hostile behavior in the workplace. The best defense against employee complaints is to resolve it quickly.
A consensual relationship agreement should be signed by employees who are romantically involved. This document acknowledges a relationship that will not interfere with their job performance and reinforces the harassment prevention policy of the employer.
It is very important that an employer act immediately on complaints of when he notices potential violations of the harassment prevention policies. Complaints should be taken seriously by employers because these complaints are difficult for an employee to bring forth.