Under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), it is unlawful for an employer to subject an employee to different terms and conditions of employment because of the employee’s sex. The first type is “Quid pro quo” harassment, which occurs when submission to sexual conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a condition of a job, a job benefit, or the absence of a job detriment.The second type is a “hostile work environment,” in which an individual must show: (1) he or she was subjected to conduct of a harassing nature because of his or her sex; (2) the conduct was both subjectively and objectively unwelcome; and (3) the conduct was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the employee’s working environment so as to create an abusive working environment.Employers with represented employees should also remember that they should negotiate anti-nepotism or anti-fraternization policies with employee organizations through the meet and confer process.
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While the idea of having an office sweetheart may boost some employees’ morale, romantic relationships in the workplace can create employee dissension and legal liability for employers.
Relationships Between Supervisors and Subordinates While any relationship between employees may cause problems in the workplace, the level of exposure to employers increases when a romantic relationship develops between a supervisor and subordinate.
Samson ended up settling with Chan for $50,000 and a favorable letter of recommendation.
() Sexual Favoritism Employers must also be aware of any sexual favoritism that may result from romantic relationships.
Employee Privacy Regardless of any policy about dating in the workplace, an employer ultimately may not be able to prevent two employees from engaging in a personal relationship outside of the workplace.
Also, employees can in some circumstances make arguments that they have an expectation of privacy in their personal off-duty relationships.
Employers can seek the affected employees’ preferences for reassignment or use objective standards such as personnel rules, memorandum of understanding policies, or seniority to determine where to reassign the employees.
If an employee violates the anti-nepotism or anti-fraternization policy despite notice of the policy, an employer may choose to take disciplinary action against the employee.
She alleged that soon thereafter, Samson retaliated against her by changing the terms of her employment.