Office 'crush'

Can anyone point me to a set of guidelines for employers dealing with situations where one employee has a "crush" on another employee who isn't reciprocating the attraction? Particularly, I am interested in how to approach a romantic interest that makes the recipient uncomfortable but does not rise to the level of sexual harassment as defined in existing law.


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  • Depending on the "crush" activity that is going on, it may become a sexual harassment situation if the same conduct continues over a period of time and the company does not address the situation. I would recommend meeting with the employee and telling him/her that the "crushee" is not interested, to no longer pursue the "crushee" in any form or fashion and leave the "crushee" alone as much as the work relationship allows. Document this conversation and tell the "crushee" that you have made the employee aware that his/her intentions are not welcome. Also tell the "crushee" that you believe this action should take care of the problem, but if the "crushee" has any more incidences of him/her pursuing them, they should let you know immediately and that you will deal with the situation further. The next time the behavior occurs with the "crushee," I would begin issuing written corrective action because the individual pursuing the "crushee" is opening the company and themselves up to litigation for sexual harassment. I am assuming that these people do not have a supervisor/subordinate relationship. If they do, I think you do have sexiual harassment, which should be addressed immediately.

    You also might want to think about instituting a "Non-fraternization Policy." If you want to discuss the pros and cons of doing so, please do not hesitate to contact me.

  • I totally agree with Ms. Morford's suggested approach to this problem. We had almost the same exact circumstances recently and took the same approach which worked. However, we aren't considering a non-fraternization policy because, from a practicality point of view, we do not believe it to be enforceable. Moreover, what two people do outside the office is really none of our business.

  • you may want to consider an anti-fraternization policy, especially for
    managers and supervisors. while it may be difficult to enforce, it may
    save unwanted grief. consider: a supervisor commences a consensual
    relationship with a subordinate, the relationship "cools" and the working
    relationship goes sour even though no "adverse action" is taken against
    the subordinate. you will have (1) the opportunity to take action if you
    learn of the relationship before the breakoff and (2) you can deal with
    the supervisor under this policy even if the relationship (working or
    otherwise) does not technically violate your sexual harassment policy.

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