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Often, an employee will argue that he or she was an unwilling participant in a relationship that merely appeared to be consensual.Even a consensual relationship, if it goes sour, can result in unwelcome advances, stalking, or other predatory conduct.So long as the spouses don't supervise one another, a "no dating" policy enforced against spouses would violate this law.Another problem arises from concerns about an employee's right to privacy while off the job.In a consensual relationship between a supervisor and a subordinate, the subordinate often is the recipient of preferential treatment.Employees have asserted claims for sexual harassment based on the theory that they can't receive the same benefits because they are not "sleeping with the boss." However, most courts have rejected this argument because such a consensual relationship disadvantages both male and female employees equally.
The policy should define if and when these activities are to be considered "dating." Public & "Just Cause" Employers: A governmental entity or a company with a "just cause" termination policy must approach no dating policies with great care.If done properly, a consensual relationship agreement will make it more difficult for an employee to claim that the relationship was "unwelcome." In addition, the agreement will create a question about why the employee did not seek to stop the harassment by reporting it to management.When deciding whether to impose a consensual relationship policy, and evaluating what form of policy to impose, the following are some important considerations: Impact: Consider whether consensual relationships have a positive or negative impact on the morale of your workplace.Penalties for Violations of Policy: A policy that prohibits a supervisor from dating a subordinate must also describe the penalty imposed if the policy is violated.Because men often hold more senior positions in a company, a policy that always penalizes the subordinate (e.g.