Many people who end up in romantic relationships meet at work. Full-time workers in Pennsylvania spend 40 or more hours with their co-workers. As a consequence, connections develop and may blossom. Yet, all is hardly rosy when it comes to workplace romances. The CEO of McDonald’s recently lost his top-level position after his long-term liaison with an employee was revealed.
The story of a consensual McDonald’s workplace romance between the head of the C-suite and an employee negatively hit the news. Not only was the CEO forced to resign because of the relationship, but the situation shed a light on the problems inherent with people dating their colleagues. The situation is not necessarily that romances are problematic in and of themselves. Some companies ask workers to document their relationship to Human Resources.
The main issue is the imbalance that can happen when romances occur between people at different rungs on the corporate ladder. Many organizations are addressing a “no dating” clause in their employment contracts. Any intimate relations between colleagues could be a reason for termination.
Is Termination Fair?
Some people feel that punishing consenting adults goes too far. Yet, the public is increasingly aware that when one employee holds a power advantage over another, the stakes inevitably change. For example, if an executive whose relationship with an administrative team member sours, they could conceivably hold the team member down in terms of promotions or other advancements. On the converse side, the executive could promote the team member above someone else who was more qualified for the job.
Though couples might feel that they would never allow romance to infiltrate their jobs or performance, however feelings can easily usurp logic. At the beginning of a relationship, both members of the relationship may believe they have nothing to fear and everything to gain by becoming a couple. Later, those emotions may change and turn ugly, which can lead to a host of problems.
Can a Workplace Romance Lead to Sexual Harassment?
While no one accused the McDonald’s CEO of sexual harassment per se, the company announced that a main reason for getting rid of the CEO was the potential for sexual harassment lawsuits. According to records, McDonald’s has faced other sexual harassment litigation in recent years and has publicly said the organization wants to avoid these types of situations. The CEO also violated a policy that clearly stated there could be no romances between supervisors and any subordinates at McDonald’s.
In the future, McDonald’s has pledged to increase its corporatewide trainings focused on decreasing the likelihood of on-the-job sexual harassment. Other companies are following in McDonald’s footsteps, upping their harassment and discrimination workshops and taking stronger steps toward preventing problems related to workplace romances.
Philadelphia Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Defend Clients Victimized at Work
If you experienced sexual harassment on the job, contact a Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyer at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. today. For a free consultation, call us at 215-569-1999 or fill out an online form. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and South Jersey.