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Legal issues surrounding interoffice dating

Although still considered taboo by many employers in Colorado, interoffice dating is becoming a far more common scenario. However, it’s important to know the possible legal issues associated with interoffice romances, which can serve to threaten the success of a business in the event a lawsuit is initiated.

Inc. illustrates some of the changing attitudes toward romance between co-workers. For instance, 85 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds surveyed admitted they would have no problem dating a co-worker (as compared to just 35 percent of 30 to 46-year-olds claiming the same.) Additionally, some industries are more forgiving of office romances due to the longer hours worked. Since it can be difficult to have a social life in this case, many co-workers find it only natural to develop relationships with one another.

While interoffice dating is not exactly illegal, it can lead to potential liability issues. This is particularly true when relationships develop between subordinates and supervisors. In this case, allegations of sexual harassment or impropriety could arise in the event that the relationship ends on an unhappy note. Claims can also arise from other employees, who may see the relationship resulting in preferential treatment of another employee.

Business News Daily highlights some of the additional problems linked dating co-workers. Hostile work environments can occur if a break up is contentious, which can be a serious legal concern for an employer. For this reason, many workplaces implement rules regarding office romance, and some outright prohibit the practice. While there is no legal backing for these rules, employees could face recrimination from supervisors if they choose to become involved with a fellow worker. 

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