Des Moines, IA- Americans spend 40 hours at more at works so it’s only natural that they sometimes get romantic notions about their coworkers. Countless romances blossom in the workplace which leaves many employers to wonder if they have allow coworkers to date. Or, are they setting themselves up for a sexual harassment suit?

There are varying viewpoints in the issue of workplace romances. Some employers have strict policies which absolutely forbid coworkers from dating on another. Perhaps they have been burned before and just want to over all of their bases. But other employers want to trust their employees to do the right thing and leave their romance and work separate. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way.

So, what happens when a workplace relationship doesn’t work out and the things get contentious between two employees? Is an employer vulnerable to sexual harassment claims? Can they be sued?

Firstly, yes a company can put themselves in danger of a sexual harassment suit when they allow workplace romances. Can doesn’t mean always but it happens often enough an employer needs to be cautious.

When a workplace romance goes south, an employer may see some tension between the involved parties but that may be the end of it and everybody moves on with their life. But if inappropriate comments are said or there is inappropriate physical contact from a former partner, it may be construed as sexual harassment and an employer could be hit with civil action.

The bigger danger with workplace relationships is when a subordinate employee dates and supervisory or management employee. This is especially true if the higher-up employee uses their position to continue the relationship through threats or promises of perks for continuing their relationship. This is called quid pro quo harassment; it means “this for that.” Victims of this form of sexual harassment are coerced into accepting sexual harassment or continuing a physical relationship relationship in exchange for favors or special benefits.

If an employer receives complaints of quid pro quo harassment, they need to launch an investigation which can be conducted by one of the experienced sexual harassment attorneys at USAttorneys. If allegations prove to be true, an employer must take action and appropriately discipline the offending employee. That is the best way for an employer to avert civil litigation.

It’s really up to an employer to decide whether they allow employees to date one another, but they should be aware of the possible consequences.

If you are facing sexual harassment in the workplace, you need know your legal rights. If you chose, you can contact a sexual harassment attorney right away and they can inform you of how to proceed and who to report your allegations to so that you don’t jeopardize your case. Your employer can’t ignore harassment and must take steps to protect you and all of their employers from facing this form of hostile behavior.