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Questions about Workplace Dating Policy

Workplace dating is not allowed in many companies. There are many reasons for an employer to enforce an employee dating policy that discourages or prohibits workplace dating. Sexual harassment claims and liability to the employer are two important reasons employers choose to prohibit workplace dating. Many employees find this policy offensive and a violation of their rights. This can lead to questions about employee rights and the legalities of having a workplace dating policy. Employment Lawyers on JustAnswer answer a wide variety of Employment Law questions regarding workplace dating and employee rights. Below are five of the top questions answered by the Experts.

Do employers have the right to inquire about employee relationships?

If your company has a policy that prohibits dating within the workplace, then your employer has every right to inquire about a relationship that you may have with another employee within the company. Companies that have policies that prohibit inner workplace relationships have been upheld by the courts, even if you are dating another employee who is in a different location.

Is it legal for an employer to ask an employee about a workplace relationship and then prohibit the relationship?

Usually, an employer may choose to prohibit dating within the company if there is a workplace dating policy in place. This rule usually applies to all classes of workers and upper management. Many companies have strict policies about inner work relationships and there are no laws that restrict an employer from implementing these rules at any time. An employer may ask an employee about an inner work relationship, but they should exercise caution when doing so. If handled the wrong way, the employer could be liable for sexual harassment of unlawful discrimination.

What legal recourse does an employee have if they end a relationship with a supervisor and start getting harassed?

Usually, if an employer is harassing an employee who has ended a relationship with the employer, the employer could be in violation of a federal law based on discrimination. Employers who have 15 or more employees are prohibited against retaliating or discriminating against any employee based on race, age, religion, sex, or disability. Sexual harassment is implied in that prohibition, which falls under sexual discrimination. Retaliation from a break up of a sexual/personal relationship that took place within the workplace, especially if one of the persons involved holds a superior job title over the other party is normally considered sexual harassment. The employee should file a formal complaint on the grounds of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) office.

In North Dakota, can an employer prohibit employees from dating?

In the absence of an employment agreement, an employee in North Dakota is considered an ‘at will’ employee. At will employers are in control of making and upholding any set of rules they choose. If an employer chooses to make a rule against employee relationships outside of work, they can enforce such rules. Due to the risk of sexual harassment suits and workplace violence between employees, many employers choose to restrict or prohibit any type of workplace dating or relationships. The courts uphold these requirements as legitimate business request in order to ensure employee safety and lessen the liability to the employer.

If an employee is having a relationship with a co-worker and is arrested off company property for domestic violence and the charges are dropped, can the employer fire the employee and deny benefits?

It is the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe work environment for the employees. If an employer thinks that the actions of an employee could put other employees at risk, the employer has the authority to prohibit that person from the workplace. Usually, in order for the employer to withhold benefits from an employee, the employer would have to prove that the employee intentionally committed an act of misconduct or violated workplace procedure or policy. In this case, since the charges were dropped, you could possibly argue that technically, no company policies have been broken.

Workplace dating policies can be tricky for people who are not familiar with legal technicalities. If you find yourself in a situation that requires knowledgeable insight on any aspect of employment law, you can ask an Employment Lawyer on JustAnswer. The Experts provide legal insight and Expert opinion on a wide range questions arising out of workplace dating problems and can offer an answer that will fit your individual situation in an efficient and knowledgeable manner.
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