By Jeffrey W. Larroca of Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC
In yesterday’s Advisor, we heard from Jeffrey W. Larroca of Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC, concerning love contracts and office romance in general. Today, more on the upsides of love contracts.
Conversely, in a situation where a contract is procured, and there is alleged harassment after the relationship ends, the contract can be used against an employer in a manner that suggests it knew of potential harassment but never followed up.
An easier and cleaner tool may be a straightforward and limited nonfraternization policy that prohibits romantic entanglements among employees in the same department or in the same reporting line. If employees who fit these descriptions do become romantically involved, the policy could be fashioned to allow for one of the employees to transfer out of the reporting line or the department. If such transfer is not feasible, it can be left to the employees involved in the relationship to decide who must resign.
If there is any question about the thorniness of these issues, one need only look to the high-profile case of Elaine Pao, who filed a gender discrimination case against her former employer alleging that she worked in a culture steeped in gender discrimination. Pao also alleged that she was pressured into an affair with a married partner and that after she broke it off, he retaliated against her by diminishing her role and “freezing her out.”
Of course, a love contract for employees engaged in extramarital affairs is most certainly a bridge too far, but the point is made: The exact allegations that arose in the Pao case could have arisen in a situation where the employees were not engaged in an affair and could have been mitigated by either a love contract or a nonfraternization policy.
BLR® has developed a new podcast series called HR Works. In the premiere episode, we discuss the sensitive topic of romance in the workplace. Click here to listen.
In fact, BLR is always creating new ways for you to get the latest information on the ever changing legal landscape of HR. The laws are constantly changing, even when it comes to employee handbooks. It’s important to make sure you are staying compliant. How to get there? Fortunately there’s timely help in the form of BLR’s new webinar—Employee Handbooks: Key Updates, Drafting Tips, and Enforcement Advice for 2016. In just 90 minutes, on Tuesday, March 22, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the latest laws concerning employee handbooks.
Register today for this interactive webinar.
By participating in this interactive webinar, you’ll learn:
- 2016 handbook components and policies you MUST include and some you may consider
- Changes in federal laws and regulations that drive employee handbook updates
- Dress code and grooming policy updates you should make
- Social media privacy and usage policies in light of NLRB scrutiny and agency guidance
- The difference between flexible and absolute language in the employee handbook
- BYOD (bring your own device) policies covering cell phone and tablet usage
- Your obligation to make personnel records available for inspection and how to update your handbook
- How long you should keep the old version of your employee handbook
- Tips for communicating handbook changes
- And much more!
Register now for this event risk-free.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (Eastern)
12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Central)
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (Mountain)
10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (Pacific)
Approved for Recertification Credit and Professional Development Credit
This program has been approved for 1.5 credit hours toward recertification through the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) and 1.5 credit hours towards SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM.
Join us on Tuesday, March 22, 2016—you’ll get the in-depth Employee Handbooks: Key Updates, Drafting Tips, and Enforcement Advice for 2016 webinar AND you’ll get all of your particular questions answered by our experts.
Train Your Entire Staff
As with all BLR®/HR Hero® webinars:
- Train all the staff you can fit around a conference phone.
- Get your (and their) specific phoned-in or e-mailed questions answered in Q&A sessions that follow the presentation.