Companies that receive reports of sexual harassment from their employees need to be diligent about investigating them and taking claims seriously. Some observers believe that implementing policies that address issues like romantic relationships in the workplace might be an effective way to fight this type of behavior. These policies can include clauses that make it clear that misconduct isn’t allowed. They could also reduce the risks of certain forms of harassment by prohibiting relationships between employees and their immediate managers.
Romance policies are of increasing importance in the modern workplace because more employees are working long hours that may make relationships are more likely. Although such affairs can be tricky to control, policies that foster healthy social interaction can actually result in increased creativity and heightened morale.
The risks of not defining clear rules on workplace romance and failing to combat sexual harassment may include outcomes like expensive lawsuits. While policy particulars vary, some feature clauses that require employees to inform their human resources managers when relationships form or end and for them to agree to conduct themselves in a professional manner throughout. Others expressly prohibit behaviors like public displays of affection.
Under modern employment law, sexual harassment is clearly defined as a form of discrimination. When workplace relationships come into play, however, factors like the existence of corporate policies and the way human resources departments deal with complaints can make it difficult for people to exercise their rights. Those who have been harassed may end up in a hostile working environment and accordingly may want to meet with an employment law attorney to learn if any recourse is available.