anti-dating policies at McDonald's

Workplace Romance is a Recipe for Disaster

Anti-Dating Policies: A New Era for C-Level Execs

When McDonald’s learned its 52-year-old CEO Steve Easterbrook was “Lovin’ It” with a subordinate, it quickly fired him and forced his resignation from the board of directors. This was not a matter of sexual harassment or a superior forcing themselves onto a subordinate. The CEO and the subordinate entered into a consensual dating relationship. And, it’s not just McDonald’s that prohibits employee fraternization. In the last few years, even CEO/C-Level execs at Intel,  Hewlett Packard, Boeing, Priceline and BestBuy have been fired for dating company employees. In the #MeToo era, the trend is for companies to adopt anti-dating policies against romantic relationships between supervisors and subordinates. 

A study by the Society for Human Resource Management determined that approximately half of U.S. companies have instituted formal policies against certain consensual relationships, or anti-dating policies. This total is up 25% from 2005.  

And, CEOs and other C-suite execs, no matter how valuable to the company, are no longer untouchable in today’s environment. That’s because if a company ignores violations by its C-suite leaders, how can it enforce any of its policies against the rest of its employees? 

Employees dating one another, even managers dating employees they supervise isn’t illegal. However, most employment attorneys advise companies to adopt strict “no-dating” policies (anti-fraternization policies). Such policies reduce sexual harassment claims and allegations of favoritism. And, even if a consensual relationship doesn’t lead to a sexual harassment or hostile environment claim, it can create workplace tension. Such situations could arise when the “couple” has a disagreement at work, brings their “off-site” relationship squabbles to work or they break up.

Implementing and Enforcing Anti-Dating Policies

Companies concerned about fraternization issues can customize their policies to meet their goals. For example, anti-dating policies can permit dating by co-workers, but prohibit managers/direct reports from dating. 

Companies adopting anti-dating should distribute the policy in their Code of Conduct or employee handbook.  And, they should regularly remind employees of the policy. Finally, companies should consistently enforce such a policy.

Rogge Dunn Group’s business and employment attorneys have extensive experience assisting companies when they implement policies to reduce workplace liability. Connect with us to discuss how proactive policies can reduce risk and limit employers’ liability.

MEDIA

Texas Payday Law: The Final Paycheck
READ MORE
Jan. 15, 2021: Rogge Dunn to Speak at the Texas Bar’s 29th Annual Advanced Employment Law Seminar on How to Win an Employment Case at Trial
READ MORE
Executive Change of Control Provisions
READ MORE
To Compete or Not to Compete: Enforceability of Non-Compete Agreements in Texas
READ MORE
Rogge Dunn Weighs in on Whataburger Discrimination Complaint on Fox 4 News
READ MORE
Employee Rights in Texas
READ MORE
Rogge Dunn Group, PC Receives “2020 Texas Legal Awards Litigation Department of the Year – Small Firm” Award by Texas Lawyer
READ MORE
The Role of the Plaintiff’s Employment Lawyer Before a Lawsuit
READ MORE
The Texas Lawbook Interviews Rogge Dunn on Wage and Hour Litigation Increases
READ MORE
Dec. 1, 2020: Rogge Dunn to Speak in LIVE CLE Webcast on Demystifying the Current Landscape of Broker-Dealers Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic: What You Must Know and Do
READ MORE
Rogge Dunn Group Attorneys Nationally Recognized in Best Lawyers in America 2021 Edition
READ MORE
The Real Estate Investor Guide to Finder’s Fees – Insight from a Real Estate Lawyer
READ MORE
COVID-19 Continues to Create Employment Issues
READ MORE
Rogge Dunn Interviewed by AdvisorHub on Multi-Million Comp Award to Former Credit Suisse Brokers
READ MORE
How a FINRA Compliance Lawyer Can Help
READ MORE
CoStar News Interviews Rogge Dunn on Pandemic-Related Layoffs
READ MORE

Contact Us Today!

Contact us to learn how we can help answer your legal questions.

FILL OUT FORM