BRAIN FOOD: Workplace rights - Emotional constraints

BRAIN FOOD: Workplace rights - Emotional constraints - Many romances blossom in the workplace, but the break-up of relationships is a common source of sexual harassment claims. And in America, it's not uncommon for employees to bring claims alleging favou

by MICHAEL BURD and JAMES DAVIES, Lewis Silkin solicitors,e-mail: employment@lewissilkin.com

Many romances blossom in the workplace, but the break-up of relationships is a common source of sexual harassment claims. And in America, it's not uncommon for employees to bring claims alleging favouritism towards co-workers who are sexually involved with a supervisor. Some employers have responded by introducing strict anti-fraternisation policies prohibiting all workplace flings. Alternatively, staff sweethearts can be required to sign 'cupid contracts' - consensual relationship agreements. The couple must comply with the firm's equal opportunities policy, act professionally and not behave offensively towards each other if they split up. Inevitably, these ideas are being adopted by UK employers. But less intrusive measures can achieve the same objective, such as anti-harassment policies that cater for potential problems arising from dating and separation scenarios.

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