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The Spotlight is on Office Romances in Light of Sexual Harassment Concerns

Posted on in Workplace Sexual Harassment

Allegheny County sexual harassment lawyersThe office romance is the basis of numerous highly-successful TV shows and movies. For example, Leslie Knope nearly lost her position as city councilor after having a secret relationship with her boss on the hit show Parks and Recreation. Likewise, the show The Office centered largely around a relationship which forms between two co-workers. While things almost always work out for the best in TV relationships, the reality of office relationships is often much gloomier. Office romances can lead to accusations of sexual harassment and leave employees confused and uncomfortable.

The Close Quarters of Many Work Environments May Contribute to Office Romances

For many Americans, their job is their life’s passion. Many individuals spend upwards of 50-60 hours a week in close proximity to their co-workers. For many professionals, it can be difficult to spend a great deal of time with someone they enjoy and not develop romantic or sexual feelings for him or her. However, office romances can be risky. Sexual or romantic relationships between a boss and a subordinate are especially dangerous. A supervisor who has a relationship with a subordinate may be accused of quid pro quo sexual harassment. The subordinate may feel as those he or she has no choice but to consent to the relationship, even if this was not the intent of the supervisor. Situations like these can quickly develop into full-blown sexual harassment cases.

Check Your Employee Handbook for Information on Sexual Harassment Policies

Many businesses are now addressing their rules regarding office romances in print. If you are considering entering into a relationship with a co-worker, check to see what your employer’s policy is regarding these types of situations. Some businesses ask employees to disclose any office romances to human resources as a means of protecting both the company as well as the individuals in the relationship. Other businesses ban romantic office relationships outright.

Chai Feldblum, a commissioner at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) says that there are no plans for the organization to attempt to prevent office relationships. She explains, "It doesn't need to be the end of office romances. It needs to be a catalyst for employers to think about what they don't want happening in their workplaces that will cause people to feel uncomfortable and not wanting to show up at work."

Have You Experienced Sexual Harassment at Work? Call a Pittsburgh Discrimination Lawyer

If you have been the victim of sexual harassment at work, reach out the experienced professionals at Colianni Law Offices, LLC for help. Contact our knowledgeable Allegheny County sexual harassment attorneys by calling 412-943-0007. Schedule your free, confidential consultation today.

 

Sources:

https://www.npr.org/2017/12/15/570970672/in-a-crisis-of-sexual-harassment-whither-the-office-romance

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/workplace-romance-under-spotlight-after-sex-scandals/

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