Love Stinks
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Strategies and Tips for Handling Workplace Romance Issues

Strategies and Tips for Handling Workplace Romance Issues

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Love Stinks Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Love Stinks:Strategies and Tips for Handling Workplace Romance Issues Chris W. McCarty, Esq. Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop Knoxville – (865) 546-4646 cmccarty@lewisking.com
  • 2. The Plan1. The Facts2. The Strategy3. The Policy
  • 3. The Facts: 2006 SHRM PollIn November 2005, the Society for Human Resource Management(SHRM) and CareerJournal.com, a Website of The Wall StreetJournal, jointly conducted an online poll to find out more aboutworkplace romance in organizations. The so-called Romance Pollwas sent to 3,000 randomly selected members of SHRM’s 200,000member roll. They compared responses to a previous poll andpublished the results in 2006.WHAT DO YOU THINK THEY FOUND?
  • 4. The Facts: 2006 SHRM PollHow many people admit to a current/previous workplace romance?A) 10%B) 20%C) 30%D) 40%
  • 5. The Facts: 2006 SHRM PollHow many employers possess a written workplace romance policy?A) 5%B) 18%C) 37%D) 62%
  • 6. The Facts: 2006 SHRM PollOf employers with romance policies, how many ban office relationships?A) 7%B) 31%C) 57%D) 75%
  • 7. The Facts: 2006 SHRM PollWhy do a lot of employers ban or discourage workplace romances?
  • 8. The Strategy*Questions to ask when deciding your position on workplace romance Do you have a Do you have a Do you worry problem with it? history of it? about it? What about a legal Should you worry problem? about it? SHRM Relationships Would you and/or found that 19% of between others enforce a policy? office relationships supervisor and end in sexual subordinate can harassment lead to big Title VII claims. issues. If “Yes” to all or most… Then you need an workplace romance policy.
  • 9. The PolicyTechnically, a policy dealing with workplaceromances is called an… Antifraternization Policy.
  • 10. The Policy Antifraternization Policy Goals:1) Minimize the most common breeding ground forsexual harassment claims: previous consensualconduct.2) Eliminate sexual favoritism or perceived sexualfavoritism.3) Prevent decreased productivity and demoralization experienced by third-party employees. (a.k.a., the ones without workplace romances)
  • 11. The Policy Common AntiFraternization Policies:• Total Ban: – Bans and sets forth serious consequences for any interoffice relationships.• Supervisor/Subordinate Ban: – Bans and sets forth serious consequences for the most dangerous relationships.• Allowed After Transfer: – Allows relationships to continue if employees agree to transfer out of similar departments or supervisor/subordinate roles.• Allowed After Contract: – Allows relationships to continue if employees agree to sign a “Love Contract” (i.e., admitting in writing to consensual nature).
  • 12. The Policy The Love Contract: Pros: Cons:• Encourages relationship • The ever-present slippery slope;disclosure; • Fails to address third-party• Eliminates he said, she said; effects;• Likely admissible in court. • Creates a duress argument.
  • 13. The Summary• Are workplace romances common? – Yes. 40% of employees admit to workplace romances.• Can you limit/ban workplace romances? – Yes. But the necessary policy requires commitment.• Do antifraternization policies ever vary? – Yes. An employer’s policy should match its goals.
  • 14. The Questions ??? Chris W. McCarty, Esq. Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop Knoxville – (865) 546-4646 cmccarty@lewisking.comwww.linkedin.com/in/chriswmccarty