The California Supreme Court has recognized that an employee may establish a sexual harassment claim under the FEHA by demonstrating widespread sexual favoritism that is severe or pervasive enough to alter an employee’s working conditions and create a hostile work environment.() Anti-Nepotism and Anti-Fraternization Policies There are several steps employers can take to set standards of conduct for workplace relationships and manage office romances.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.
A “love contract” is an agreement that affirms that the relationship is consensual and that the employees’ understand the employer’s anti-nepotism, anti-fraternization, harassment, and retaliation policies.
Love contracts are less common today because employers rely on policies to address and manage romantic workplace relationships without having to resort to contracts.
They should not ignore some relationships while taking action against other relationships.
Employers should regularly circulate policies with their personnel rules or memorandum of understanding.
This may be the right decision if an employee has a pattern or practice of engaging in office relationships that disrupt the workplace.
Employers should uniformly enforce anti-nepotism and anti-fraternization policies.Samson ended up settling with Chan for ,000 and a favorable letter of recommendation.() Sexual Favoritism Employers must also be aware of any sexual favoritism that may result from romantic relationships.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.Love Contracts In the past, employers would occasionally put “love contracts” into place when they discovered a romantic relationship.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.