Should I Ask My Co-Worker Out on a Date?
Sexual harassment in the workplace has never been a more hotly-debated topic. There have been laws against inappropriate sexual behavior at work for decades. Discrimination on the basis of sex has been against the law in the U.S since the 1964 Civil Rights Act. However, many instances of sexual harassment have gone unchecked throughout the years, and many people’s lives have been negatively affected as a result.
Last year, the nation was taken by storm by the viral Twitter hashtag #MeToo as thousands of men and women shared their stories of sexual harassment and sexual assault. During this time of controversy and change, it can be hard to know exactly what actions are acceptable at work and what are not. For example, should you date a co-worker? There are no easy answers, but there are some things you should keep in mind regarding romantic relationships at work.
Dating at Work When There Is a Power Differential Between the Employees
Dating at work is a very complicated topic. Many happily married people met their spouses at work, and on the surface, there should be no problem with dating someone you work with. However, serious issues can arise out of office romances when there is a difference in status or authority between the dating employees. Quid pro quo sexual harassment is one of two legally-recognized types of sexual harassment. It refers to instances when a person of authority such as a boss, shift leader, or supervisor offers employment or work benefits in exchange for sexual favors. If you enter into a relationship with a subordinate employee, you may be putting yourself at risk of being accused of sexual harassment.
Dating a Co-Worker When There Is No Power Discrepancy
When it comes to office romances, dating a peer is generally more acceptable than dating someone on a different pay grade in the company or organization. However, dating a colleague can still lead to professional trouble and personal embarrassment. If you wish to strike up a romantic relationship with a co-worker, the best thing to do is follow the sexual harassment policy outlined in your employee handbook or training materials. Many companies have policies about how and when office romances are appropriate. For example, in some companies, an office romance is permissible, but the employees involved must file certain paperwork with the human resources department. Make sure to follow your employer’s rules regarding dating a co-worker. Some organizations ban employees from dating each other altogether. If this is the case, it may be best to seek romantic companionship outside of work. As they say, there are other fish in the sea.
Illinois Lawyers Representing Victims in Cases Involving Sexual Harassment and Wrongful Termination
If you are the victim of sexual harassment, you need an attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities. Contact an experienced Wheaton sexual harassment lawyer at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC to discuss your sexual harassment claim today.