As small business owner do you allow your employees to date each other? Have you ever stopped to consider the pitfalls or legal issues that can arise by allowing an office romance? What guidelines you should have in place?

Today many people are working longer hours while building their careers. I often hear there is not time to get out and meet people. Statistics show that a large percent of people do date their coworkers. However, let’s discuss the pitfall of the office romance from the view of the employer or business owner.

Pitfalls/Liability to the Business Owner
1. Sexual Harassment - if one person out ranks the other and the relationship ends the person who feels hurt or violated may file a lawsuit on the grounds he or she was sexually harassed. This may be his or her attempt to get even, even the score or ease a bruised ego. It is not good for the business as your money will be tied up defending your business.

2. Hostile Work Environment-if one of the parties involved is or becomes a supervisor over the other now junior person the junior person may claim there is a hostile work environment when he or she is reprimanded or given an unpleasant task or project. Other employees who witness the office romance may also feel slighted and trigger a lawsuit or complaint.
3. Favoritism-the other employees may begin to feel that favoritism is taking place whether real or imagined. This may rear its ugly head when one of the parties involved in the romance is promoted or given time off.

4. Blackmail – now I know you think this may only happen in a Lifetime movie but sometimes people who are jilted seek revenge. They may have a sex tape or video or photos that could cause embarrassment or harm to the other person and seek to exhort money from the person.

5. Ruined Reputation-not only do those employees who engage in an office romance risk ruining their reputation but they run the risk of ruining the reputation of the business. Scandal can spread like wild fire.

As a business owner you must have an office or business policy outlining the parameters for inter office dating or romance among workers. You do not want to unintentionally create a hostile work environment when other employees feel jilted or slighted because they perceive favoritism taking place. As a small business owner you need to also ensure you have the appropriate insurance to protect your business in case of a lawsuit. Lastly, you will at a minimum want to ensure you are counseling and documenting the counseling sessions with your employees in case someone needs to be terminated due to violating your office policies.

Author's Bio: 

Dream Catcher, Business & Life Coaching is a Veteran Owned Business. Coach Jaynine is a retired United States Marine and former psychotherapist who works with Veterans and those on Active Duty. Jaynine will show you how to increase your visibility while developing your expertise. Whether you are a Veteran Business Owner or still on Active Duty, Coach Jaynine is the coach for you. She will teach you the systems and strategies needed to grow your business, have a successful military career, or transition into civilian life. You can start turning your dreams into reality by signing up for her free ecourse My 5 Secrets to Networking Success