Dating clients and customers

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It would be great if there were “bullet-proof” wording – on any topic – that would automatically prevent lawsuits.

Unfortunately, we live in a highly litigious society where anyone can sue at any time for any reason, valid or not.

It is questionable whether a company policy can legitimately prohibit dating between employees and vendors, or employees and customers.

It is quite likely that an employee who tested such a policy in court would prevail.

It can be very expensive and time-consuming for a company to defend against a lawsuit, even if the company ultimately prevails.

Here’s some guidance on the major issues in dating policies.

Some companies take a pro-active approach and ask workers who are dating a colleague to inform the Human Resources Department in writing that the relationship is consensual.It’s perfectly permissible to ban sexual behavior at work.A good policy should spell out the consequences if a romance is negatively impacting the workplace.Some companies do try to prohibit adulterous relationships, although this is a grey issue.Other prohibitions should focus on performance issues, like not being productive during work time, or awarding contracts to a vendor who is not the lowest bidder.From a liability perspective, it is not critical that a company have a written policy on dating.

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