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Also, before implementing this tactic, the employer should consider whether such contracts would be seen as intrusive by employees and therefore create a backlash.Moreover, employers should be prepared with an appropriate response to a couple who refuses to sign such a contract.As much as an employer might like to, attempting to establish a complete ban on workplace romances is not a good idea for a number of reasons.
Public displays of affection (“PDA”) and sexual banter may make other employees uncomfortable, can be considered unprofessional and may give rise to complaints of sexual harassment.Note, however, that employers should be ready to articulate a business justification for such a transfer in order to lessen the chance of a discrimination claim.At least one California appellate court has enforced an employer’s conflict of interest policy prohibiting supervisor-subordinate romances. App.4th 525, the Court found that a supervisor’s failure to notify his employer of a relationship in violation of the conflict of interest policy was not protected by the California Constitution or the Labor Code.In addition, by having a policy prohibiting all workplace romances, employees may feel they must hide from and deceive their supervisors and co-workers.This type of “us versus them” mentality is the last thing employers want to foster.
Second, when workplace romances do not interfere with an employee’s work performance, and do not otherwise cause any disruption to the workplace, employers can do very little to prohibit these consensual relationships.