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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:36 pm
Though there are no federal or state laws prohibiting employees from dating each other, there are also no laws preventing companies from forbidding employee dating, especially between managers and their subordinates. Generally, if a no-dating policy exists, it's to prevent detrimental situations from occurring such as excessive socializing, slowed productivity, favoritism, or charges of sexual harassment. To many employers, romantic relationships in the workplace can also incur risks, both personally and professionally, for the employee. For example, if your relationship with a co-worker happens to end disagreeably, you still have to work with the person and carry on a professional relationship with him or her. Some employers have recognized that workplace relationships may start out as consensual but often end in allegations of harassment when one co-employee wants to end the relationship and the other doesn't. Furthermore, if you're a supervisor or manager and are responsible for performance reviews, promotions, work assignments, or pay raises, you have to be careful not to exhibit preferential treatment or reduced objectivity in regards to a subordinate you're dating. Employees can make valid claims that they believed that their job security would be in jeopardy if they chose to end the relationship with a supervisor. Companies should enforce a strong sexual harassment program that includes education and training, and clearly communicates the company's position on sexual harassment and the procedure for reporting harassment. Finally, to avoid invading the privacy of workers, employers should focus their dating policies on their employees' work-related conduct, and not on what their employees may or may not be doing outside the workplace.

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