Office romance: Don’t ban it; manage it the right way

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in Compensation and Benefits,Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Firing,Human Resources

Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on a person's sex. When office romances sour, scorned lovers often use this law to allege that their former lover was a sexual harasser.

A landmark 1998 Supreme Court ruling (Faragher v. Boca Raton) said that employers are responsible for the actions of their supervisors. That ruling said employers, to be able to put forth a defense in harassment cases, must establish a sexual harassment policy and complaint procedures. The policy must include a provision allowing harassed employees to bypass their immediate supervisor when reporting harassment.

A 2004 Supreme Court decision (Pennsylvania State Police v. Suders) says harassed employees can quit before filing charges internally if they believe working conditions are too difficult to continue. The legal term for such a situation is "constructive discharge." The Suders case illustrates that e...(register to read more)

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