Non-Fraternization Policies. Are They A Waste Of Time?
We are constantly receiving calls regarding the validity of non-fraternization policies. Let me begin by saying that such policies are valid but have to be carefully written. There was a recent case where the high court determined that the defendant employer restricted the interaction of staff so closely that the policy impacted the rights of the employees to discuss protected workplace rights (such as being able to discuss salaries).
Another common issue that gets challenged is whether or not an employer can restrict the off duty conduct of employees. Managers and supervisors have to be careful because of the potential liability for sexual harassment claims. But what about employees? Privacy issues have surfaced but, an employer can have a policy about off duty conduct that potentially can impact the employer.
It is my personal belief that non-fraternization policies are a waste of time. If two employees want to get together they are going to sneak and “get the deed done” no matter what policies are in place. The work environment is already filled with gossip and rumors. Why add fuel to the fire and, usually, everyone but the boss knows anyway. If the relationship begins to impact the business the employer has a right to take action.
Have any of you found such policies to have value? Let’s hear from you!