No dating policy
Savvy employees understand that some policies in their workplace are unwritten, but all employees are entitled to understand workplace norms.Beyond the employee, a fraternization policy is even more significant for the employer.The legal issue is what I like to call the "amplification" of potential liability that always exists around the employer-employee relationship.There will foreseeably be claims of favoritism, or even discrimination or harassment.You might think that employee friendships and romantic relationships only affect the private lives of those involved. A dating relationship, especially one that goes awry, can have a very damaging effect on other employees and disrupt workplace harmony.Managers who are dating or romantically involved with a subordinate is never a good idea.An employee could even make a case for unlawful retaliation if he or she receives a poor performance review from a former lover (or if a co-worker receives a better evaluation from his or her boss).
One last generally acceptable rule: If you have a "C" (think CEO, CFO, COO) or VP in your title, you should always think twice about dating anyone in the workplace, even if he or she is not a direct report or within your chain of command.
Even if it does not violate a written policy, your boss (the CEO or the board) might not care, and view it as a lack of senior management acumen.
Do you think you need a fraternization policy for your workplace?
In a better scenario, coworkers would find it easier to claim that an employee received preferential treatment from a supervisor he or she is dating.
In a poorer scenario, the relationship would end badly, one of the employees could claim that the relationship was non-consensual, or that sexual harassment existed.Enforcing these policies can take their toll on a company. Earlier this year, Best Buy's chief executive, Brian Dunn, stepped down after an investigation by the board discovered he had shown "extremely poor judgment" with a 29-year-old female employee.