If indeed that’s how your company does it, that’s sex discrimination and is illegal.
(Or at least it’s illegal if your company is big enough to be covered by federal discrimination statutes — meaning that it has 15 or more employees.) As for the question of whether they need reasonable suspicion, employers don’t generally need “proof” before taking disciplinary action against employees in matter, but because the issue of romantic relations is a sticky one, I turned to employment attorney Bryan Cavanaugh to weigh in.
You and your partner need to see your attorney as well as an HR expert, but first you need to have an owner-to-owner talk about leadership ethics.
This is no dating game—the relationship, whether or not they stay together, could wreak havoc on your culture and company.
Playing musical chairs with direct reports does not solve the ethical issues that come with this interoffice romance.
As owners, both of you are responsible for setting the tone for the organization and for modeling behavior expected of all employees.
In fact, it’s practically inevitable that, sooner or later, two of your employees will get together and start a relationship.
Most of the entanglements occurred between two peers, but 29 percent of workers who’d dated a colleague said it was someone who outranked them in the company’s hierarchy, and 16 percent admitted to dating their boss.
The difficulty for the employer is proving that the relationship was consensual.Often, an employee will argue that he or she was an unwilling participant in a relationship that merely appeared to be consensual.Even a consensual relationship, if it goes sour, can result in unwelcome advances, stalking, or other predatory conduct.In a consensual relationship between a supervisor and a subordinate, the subordinate often is the recipient of preferential treatment.Employees have asserted claims for sexual harassment based on the theory that they can't receive the same benefits because they are not "sleeping with the boss." However, most courts have rejected this argument because such a consensual relationship disadvantages both male and female employees equally.