While many employee handbooks prohibit or frown upon interoffice romances, do companies really have the right to intervene on private relationships?
Some companies believe that office romances, even secret affairs, can pose a risk to the company.
So, what do you do if Cupid strikes two of your employees? There are consequences for the company, particularly if the relationship is between a manager and a subordinate.
“By turning a blind eye, the owner not only could be unaware of potential sexual harassment and a resulting lawsuit, but could be accused of willful ignorance, thus exacerbating the harm to the subordinate and the resulting injury award,” warns David Scher, principal attorney for the Employment Law Group.
Therefore, each different off-duty conduct issue must be looked at carefully. A co-worker is sending me harassing emails through his personal account while off-duty. So I tried applying to a different company but they wouldn't hire me because my husband works for the competitor. The answer to this seemingly simple question is: it depends.
Can my employer fire me for what I do on my own time, outside of work? My company has announced that it is going to fire anyone who is a smoker, after strictly enforcing an anti-smoking policy at work for several years. I occasionally mention things that happen to me at work, but don't identify who my employer is. My employer's personnel handbook has a "no-moonlighting" policy. My company has a "no fraternization" policy that restricts managers from socializing with non-management employees. Employment-at-will means that both the employer and the employee can end the employment relationship at any time without notice or reason.
But, what are the rights of employees when it comes to office romance?
What happens if an employee gets fired for dating a co-worker?
Can I be fired for smoking on the evenings and weekends, even if I have never violated their policy at work? Can my employer restrict me from working for someone else when it doesn't interfere with my work? My company has a policy which requires employees to report to the company if they're dating co-workers. This means the employer has the right to terminate your employment at any time, for any reason, for no reason at all, or for a bad reason, so long as the reason is not illegal--even if your performance has been outstanding.
I recently began dating someone in another department. For more information, see our site's at-will employment page.