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Romance policies that work–even with ‘irresistible’ employees

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in Discrimination and Harassment,HR Management,Human Resources

by Matthew P. Webster, Esq., Gray Plant Mooty, Minneapolis

Workplace romance has long been the bane of the HR profession. Intimate relationships between co-workers or between supervisors and subordinates inevitably result in thorny legal issues after the romance ends or co-workers get jealous.

A December 2012 Iowa Supreme Court decision (Nelson v. Knight, No. 11–1857, Supreme Court of Iowa, 2012) has further roiled the workplace romance waters by holding that an employer could terminate an employee for being “irresistible.”

Trouble with texting

In Nelson v. Knight, a former em­­ployee sued her employer, a dentist, for sex discrimination in violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, alleging that she was fired because of her gender.

Melissa had been employed for more than 10 years as a dental assistant in the office of her boss, James. Melissa and James frequently texted each other about both work and personal matters outside th...(register to read more)

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