It is tougher in a smaller work environment because there are often fewer options. And it’s expensive for small business owners to insure against it by purchasing employment practices liability insurance. We always recommend that they do have that, because it covers employee lawsuits and attorney’s fees.
(From a BusinessWeek.com article) There’s no doubt that each year, lots of people fall in love with their co-workers or their bosses. Other employees typically get swept up in workplace romances through the gossip mill. But while they can’t be prevented, office liaisons are not always a joy for business owners. And they’re more difficult to handle when they occur at small companies, says attorney Mark Kluger, who chairs the labor and employment practice at Mandelbaum Salsburg in West Orange, N.J. He spoke recently to Smart Answers columnist Karen E. Klein about workplace relationships from a decidedly nonromantic perspective. Edited excerpts of their conversation follow.
You advise your clients against establishing a written policy prohibiting workplace romance. Why?
Employers cannot control human nature, so a workplace romance policy is unenforceable. And if you establish one, it sends a negative message to employees about your company’s willingness to impose itself into their personal lives.
The other thing is that you don’t want to create a Romeo and Juliet situation. If there’s a policy against workplace romances, people will feel they must lie and sneak around, and that’s the last thing you want.