At some point in your working career, you may have witnessed or even been part of a workplace romance. Surveys show that 80% of employees in Oregon have either experienced or observed romantic affairs at work.
Problems With Workplace Romance in Oregon
Romantic affairs in the workplace are more common than you might imagine in Oregon. Employers have genuine reasons for worrying about dating among employees. Some of the risks involved include sexual harassment lawsuits that may arise. A boss asking his or her supporting staff out could open a plethora of problems. Even amongst employees, a mutual affair that goes wrong or the observation from colleagues that a boss is taking sides or playing favorites with others can, at the very least, divide a workplace.
Oregon sexual harassment laws forbid undesirable sexual advances at work. Hence, employees involved in mutual affairs sometimes accuse a former partner of sexual misconduct. The employer thus finds it hard to confirm that a relationship is mutual. In most cases, those caught participating in romance in the workplace usually argue that they were forced to or unwillingly participated in those affairs even when it was clear that they were having a mutual relationship.
Consensual affairs between a boss and an employee may result in preferential treatment to the employee. This can result in claims of sexual harassment due to the fact that other employees get no benefits because they are not romantically involved with their managers. The courts and HR managers in Oregon have overruled this argument, stating that consensual relationship creates shortcomings for the male and female staff equally.
To prevent potential issues, employers should impose no-dating policies, which must be drafted carefully to avoid headaches. It should be noted that Oregon law keeps spouses who work for the same boss safe. Another issue that may arise is the concern for a worker’s right to privacy while they are not at work. A boss might break the employee’s right to privacy while regulating his or her private affairs while not at work. Employers might find themselves at high risk while supervising their employees.
Some employers in Oregon make it a requirement that employees enter consensual affairs should they already be involved or if they are granted special permissions. This agreement is normally signed by both the workers and the management with a condition that the affairs will not influence their work at any time. The signed agreement also ensures that the relationship will be voluntary and not forced.
A sexual harassment policy document is also attached to the agreement to ensure that employees are aware and report any kind of sexual misconduct. If all these arrangements are done in a proper way, it would be hard for employees to claim that they were unwilling or forced into a workplace romance. For more assistance or advice on workplace romance, contact HKM Employment Lawyers at 503-389-1130 for further legal assistance.