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NEW YORK — It happens in so many workplaces — two colleagues begin a romantic relationship.But a heightened awareness about sexual harassment means small business owners can get more anxious when employees start dating.Many owners have consulted with employment attorneys or human resources professionals since the accusations against movie executive Harvey Weinstein in November.
“When I know staffers are dating, I speak to each of them in private and just try to understand the situation,” says Musovic, who owns Sojourn, Vero Bar and Selena Rosa.A few years ago, a manager at one of his restaurants dated a hostess, and became jealous when he saw her chatting with customers.“I told them, ‘You guys have to stop this or someone’s going to have to find another job,'” Musovic recalls. On another occasion, Musovic fired an employee who wrote unwanted love letters to a co-worker.Jacqueline Breslin, an executive with HR provider Tri Net, is fielding more questions from businesses that want to know how to handle employees dating.The first step is often to determine whether companies have policies on dating and sexual harassment; if not, they need to be written.
Dating policies should set expectations for staffers’ behavior, such as that emotions should not be displayed at work.