by Manori de Silva.
February 14 can be a stressful time for many, particularly those feeling pressured to live up to the hype of Valentine’s Day. For employers, romance in the workplace can be a minefield.
The lead-up to Valentine’s Day can result in increased flirting in the hope of getting a date by the time February 14 arrives. Having flowers and gifts delivered at the office can be anything from flattering to distracting to downright unwelcome, depending on the situation. Supervisors and managers should be mindful of making comments that could be construed as romantic interludes with their subordinates. Employers should have a written harassment policy in place at all times rather than using Bridget Jones’s Diary as a guideline.
Romance in the Workplace
Many relationships start in the office because of the sheer amount of time spent at work. However, office romances do not always end with happy-ever-after. Consider implementing a policy that requires dating colleagues to notify the company of their relationship. These so-called “love contracts” provide clarity about how the parties are to behave toward each other during and after the relationship. A love contract can also help show the relationship was not the result of harassment or unwelcome advances. This type of documentation can be critical if the relationship ends badly and one party alleges harassment.
On a more innocuous level, Valentine’s Day can result in longer breaks or excessive personal internet use while hunting for a present. On the day itself, it is common for employees to want to leave early to get ready for the big date. It’s fine to accommodate these requests as a one-off, but if you need certain staff coverage, it’s better to raise the issue a week or two beforehand so that measures can be taken.
Lastly, on a personal level, the pressure of Valentine’s Day can be immense for those who happen to be single. To maintain a positive atmosphere in the office and show empathy, think twice about making fun of those without a date.
Get Ahead of Claims with an Atlanta Employment Attorney
If you would like help crafting any of the policies mentioned in this article, please contact the experienced Atlanta employment attorneys at Stanton Law. You can reach me at [email protected].