Wal marts dating policies
Studies indicate that some employers choose to "rely on a quiet form of persuasion ...
[believing that despite having no written rules, their employees understand that as a matter of corporate culture or implied policy .. supervisorsubordinate relationships" will be discouraged or simply not tolerated.6 Although employers generally enjoy the right to promulgate rules and regulations restricting dating on the job as they deem necessary, this right must be weighed against the countervailing privacy rights of their employees.7 Courts considering these issues have balanced the employer's legitimate business interests in avoiding unnecessary litigation and potential legal liability and in maintaining a fair and professional work environment, against the privacy rights of employees.8 EMPLOYERS' BUSINESS INTERESTS Many employers adopt anti-fraternization policies in an effort to avoid the numerous types of liability they might otherwise confront.9 Liability may attach to an employer confronted with an office romance in a variety of ways.10 First, a romantic relationship between a manager or supervisor and his or her subordinate may result in allegations of favoritism, with coworkers claiming that the subordinate has received preferential treatment as a result of the relationship.
During the course of the dispute, one employee asked the supervisor to call and "let her know how she was doing," HR Cafe reports.
The result was a 90-minute conversation between the worker and the supervisor discussing a mix of personal and work-related issues.
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ALBANY, July 13— The seeds of romance between Laural Allen and Samuel Johnson were sown in a most unlikely place: the sporting goods department of the new Wal-Mart in Johnstown, N. When he first laid eyes on her, she was showing a hunting rifle to a customer. Allen, the mother of a 2-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter, who briefly collected public assistance after her dismissal. It wasn't interfering with my job." Supporting the 'Family Unit' At issue in the case is a section in the 1989 company handbook entitled "fraternization." In it, the company -- known for its rock-bottom prices, friendly service and wholesome "Buy American" image -- cautions its sales associates to maintain "sound business relationships" with their co-workers. Johnson, a relationship that she said began to flourish after her husband, David, a 27-year-old machinist, moved out of their home in December. The relationship first came to the attention of Wal-Mart managers in early January, when her estranged husband's lawyers served her with custody papers at the store. But the new statute, like laws passed in other states, bars employers from dismissing workers because they participated in a political campaign or a union, or even because they attended a particular movie. Abrams said of the Wal-Mart case, "is the fact the employer is terminating the employee not on the basis of job performance but on what they're doing in their private lives outside the workplace." "When they were dismissed," he said, "there was no allegation of this relationship interfering with their job performance." A spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, Kimberly Ellis, said she was prohibited by company policy from commenting on "matters in litigation." Although it has hundreds of discount stores in the Middle West and South, Wal-Mart is a relatively new player on the Northeastern retail scene, opening 22 stores in New York state in an incursion that began only two years ago.
These policies range from the very strict, such as a comprehensive prohibition of dating between employees, to the more lenient, such as a policy that actively discourages, but ultimately allows, employees to fraternize.4 Even a simple policy requiring employees to notify management when coworkers are romantically involved provides documentation of a consensual relationship that could be helpful to an employer's defense against a sexual harassment claim, should one arise.5 Perhaps daunted by problems of implementation and enforcement, other employers have avoided adopting any formal policy explicitly addressing the issue of romance in the workplace, choosing instead to rely on unwritten rules or other policies already in place.In its decision, the court also noted that the company was right to pay the employee for talking with her supervisor while she was off the clock.The call took place after a supervisor, an African American woman, complained that other employees and the store manager were biased against her, which led to an investigation of allegations against the supervisor. It seems that Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, has a policy that bars an employee who is married from dating anyone else who works in the store. Allen was married, albeit separated from her husband, at the time she began dating Mr. Rules on Fraternization Attorney General Robert Abrams believes that Wal-Mart's "no dating" policy is illegal under a new state statute that prohibits businesses from dismissing employees for "lawful" activities outside the work place. Johnson were required to read, and sign, at the outset of their employment."Wal-Mart strongly believes and supports the 'family unit,' " the handbook states. Distraught, she said she shared the papers, which included a reference to Mr. Six more stores are scheduled to open in the state before the year is out.