Yet few small companies have formal policies on workplace dating and even fewer ban such romances.
In large part, that’s because firms believe it’s none of their business if co-workers pair up.
Office romances aren’t a business liability as long as there are policies and procedures in place to ensure that employees’ personal lives remain personal and their work professional.
The company should also have a policy regarding sexual harassment.
But, savvy companies should keep their eyes peeled.
People spend much of their lives at work and end up sharing hobbies, personality quirks and intimacies.
There is California precedent that suggests that employers can prohibit some types of workplace dating relationships.
For instance, romantic relationships in the workplace that jeopardize supervision, efficiency, morale or security could all potentially impact the legitimate business interests of an employer, and an employer may be justified in limiting these types of romantic relationships in the workplace.
By way of example, employers have a legitimate business interest in preventing employees who are in supervisor positions from dating employees who are in subordinate positions.
The average California employee spends more than forty hours a week working, which leaves little time to meet new people and develop a love interest.
As a result, many employees find themselves interested in a fellow co-worker and wonder if they are allowed to date their co-workers without getting into trouble, or worse – fired.