Manage Employees Who Are Related or Dating

Key Points

  • Nepotism is not illegal but it is best practice for an employer to base employment decisions on merit and not family relationships. If an employer allows the hiring of family and friends, the employer should enact a policies and work rules that will avoid claims of favoritism and discrimination.
  • An employer may elect to have a written policy prohibiting dating between co-workers or supervisors and subordinates in the workplace. An employer can also require employees to inform the employer of a dating relationship which will permit the employer to carefully manage the relationship in the workplace.
  • An employer should provide all employees with training regarding the employer's sexual harassment policies which will allow employees to understand how the employer treats personal conduct in the workplace.
  • An employer may want to establish policies prohibiting dating and familial relationships between managers and subordinates so as to avoid potential conflicts of interest and claims of discrimination and unfair treatment.
  • A love contract may be used by an employer to address concerns regarding employee dating. Such a contract sets forth the parameters for a workplace relationship, reminds the employees involved in the relationship of the employer's policies regarding harassment, and explains that should the relationship end, any form of retaliation is prohibited. Having employees involved in a dating relationship sign a love contract protects the employer should claims of harassment arise after the relationship ends.

Additional Resources