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SPEAKERS: Patrick H. Flanagan (704) 940-3419 Norwood P. Blanchard (910) 332-0944 Ryan D. Bolick (704) 940-3416.

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Presentation on theme: "SPEAKERS: Patrick H. Flanagan (704) 940-3419 Norwood P. Blanchard (910) 332-0944 Ryan D. Bolick (704) 940-3416."— Presentation transcript:

1 SPEAKERS: Patrick H. Flanagan (704) Norwood P. Blanchard (910) Ryan D. Bolick (704) SPEAKERS: Patricia L. Holland (919) M. Robin Davis (919) Ann H. Smith (919)

2 2 Crossing the Line: When Co-Worker Romance Turns to Conflict Crossing the Line: When Co-Worker Romance Turns to Conflict

3 Whats Harder: Finding Your Dream Job or Your Dream Mate Nearly 1/3 of all romances begin at work Between 6 and 8 million Americans enter into such relationships every year... and about 50% of the time, the result is either a long-term connection or marriage Combining romance and career: a dangerous mix

4 4 Problems With Harassment and Employee Dating Drain on morale Sensitive issues High emotions Office rumor mill

5 5 Employers Can Protect Themselves Understand what is and is not harassment Creative responses to sensitive issues

6 6 Defining Sexual Harassment Hostile Work Environment

7 7 Defining Sexual Harassment Frequency of conduct Severity Physically threatening Humiliating or merely offensive Interferes with ability to perform job

8 8 Defining Sexual Harassment Title VII does not reach genuine but innocuous differences in the ways men and women routinely interact... (Oncale v. Sundown Services Inc.)

9 9 Defining Sexual Harassment Prohibition of harassment on the basis of sex requires neither asexuality nor androgyny in the workplace. 9

10 10 Employer Liability for Sexual Harassment Did the employer exercise reasonable care to prevent and correct promptly any sexually harassing behavior? Did the employee unreasonably fail to take advantage of preventive or corrective opportunities?

11 11 Using Investigation to Establish Precise Nature of Conduct Was there a consensual relationship? Has alleged harasser ever sexually harassed anyone else?

12 12 The Harassment Was Not Based On Sex Conduct resulted from resentment of failed relationship Conduct resulted from sexual sparks flying

13 13 The Conduct Was Not Severe or Pervasive Verbal banter from a soured relationship s Love letters Staring

14 14 The Employee Unreasonably Failed to Utilize the Employers Complaint Procedures Unreasonable Employee Reasonable Care

15 15 Good Faith Defense Punitive damage can be avoided when employers make good faith efforts to comply with Title VII.

16 16 Considerations for Good Faith Defense User Friendly Policy The Company Enforces the Policy Prompt investigation

17 17 Considerations for Good Faith Defense Love Contract Respond to all dating (customers or other outside sources) Love contracts Confronting employees with rumors

18 18 Sexual Favoritism and Sexual Harassment Title VII does not prohibit isolated instances of preferential treatment based upon consensual romantic relationships. EEOC Guidelines

19 19 Reducing The Risk Of Sexual Harassment Suits Clearly defined sexual harassment policy Policies limiting employee dating Investigate romantic relationships claims early and thoroughly Take responsive action

20 Workplace Romance Policies Include a clear statement that supervisor/subordinate relationships are not allowed If circumstances make it impossible to transfer one of the employees involved in the supervisor/subordinate relationship, appoint an uninvolved supervisor to handle the performance and/or compensation review of the subordinate employee

21 Consider whether any existing relationships should be grandfathered in under the new policy Consider the use of Consensual Relationship Agreements or Love Contracts Apply the policy consistently to all employees, i.e., to management and staff alike Train supervisors about the provisions of the policy and how to constructively deal with workplace romance issues

22 22 Responding When the Romantic Relationship Resumes 22 Remind employees of the need to report harassment Have employees inform the company should the relationship resume

23 Questions?

24 SPEAKERS: Patrick H. Flanagan (704) Norwood P. Blanchard (910) Ryan D. Bolick (704) SPEAKERS: Patricia L. Holland (919) M. Robin Davis (919) Ann H. Smith (919)


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