Five Tips To Avoid Legal Fallout From Workplace Romance

NFIB Feb. 14, 2013

It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air – maybe right there in your workplace. But while it may be impossible to prevent the love bug, small businesses should take some steps to protect themselves from any legal problems that might arise when employees get romantic.

Beth Melito, senior counsel for the NFIB Small Business Legal Center, offers employers the following tips:
• Understand your obligation to prevent harassment, including sexual harassment.
• Be on high alert for supervisor-subordinate relationships, which are fraught with the potential for charges of coercion when a romance ends, or jealously on the part of other employees.
• Don’t be afraid to speak up. If employees are acting inappropriately in the workplace, make sure you tell them so.
• Be consistent. Make sure the same rules apply to everyone.
• Have an open-door policy. While it’s not realistic to prevent workplace dating, establish an open door policy that makes it easy for employees to talk about these issues.
Small Business Legal Ease is a new web series from NFIB, the leading small business association, where experts from the NFIB Small Business Legal Center look at laws and regulations affecting the right of small business owners to own, operate and grow their business.

About NFIB
NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C., and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists sends their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through a unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of members to own, operate and grow their businesses. For more information visit NFIB online.

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