Many owners have consulted with employment attorneys or human resources professionals since the accusations against movie executive Harvey Weinstein in November.Some owners have created or updated their policies on dating and sexual harassment, and they’re making sure staffers know the rules and to speak up if they feel harassed.Bosses who in the past just watched with interest as a relationship blossomed are being proactive, telling couples that if the romance sours, both people are expected to behave appropriately.
Some owners might be tempted to ban employee relationships altogether.
But people attracted to one another may still date on the sly.
Dating policies should set expectations for staffers’ behavior, such as that emotions should not be displayed at work.
Policies must also address issues like relationships between supervisors and subordinates.
As long as there’s no sign of a problem, the boss should respect everyone’s privacy.
But if one person keeps pursuing another, an owner needs to be on alert.
Kate and Doug Hickey had two employees at Honolulu-based coffee grower Sunshower Farms — a supervisor and subordinate — who began a relationship in 2013.
They had the couple sign a contract saying if the relationship ended and they couldn’t work together comfortably, one would have to resign.
He decided against changing his policy that allows dating, but he’s keeping a closer eye on interactions between employees.
“When I know staffers are dating, I speak to each of them in private and just try to understand the situation,” says Musovic, who owns Sojourn, Vero Bar and Selena Rosa.
Jacqueline Breslin, an executive with HR provider Tri Net, is fielding more questions from businesses that want to know how to handle employees dating.