If asked to define "sexual harassment," you (and most in Fort Lauderdale) would like limit it to unwanted actions directed at a co-worker. Yet harassment regarding your own relationship may also fall into this category (particularly if you are engaged in an office romance). While you (and your romantic partner) should not be subjected to rude or disparaging comments, it is also important to recognize the need to handle office relationships delicately. One question that we here at The Law Office of Michelle Cohen Levy, P.A. often field is whether or not people are required to report to their employers when they enter into a personal relationship with a co-worker.
No federal or state laws exist detailing how to handle office romances. Yet the fact that CBS News reports that nearly 40 percent of American professionals admit to having been in a relationship with a co-worker confirms that this is a potential issue that both companies and employees should be aware of. The need to report an office relationship is typically left up to each individual employer. Thus, if you are engaged in one, research your company's policy manual to find out if it is indeed a requirement.
There may, however, be benefits of making your relationship known to your employer (or even just your immediate superior) even if it is not a requirement. Despite your best attempts at remaining discrete, the potential of others learning about your relationship is ever-present (especially if it gets serious). Such knowledge can often be met with accusations of unfair treatment and/or nepotism. Having another in the office to advise you (and your partner) how to handle your workplace assignments without impacting your relationship could certainly be helpful.
You can learn more about handling workplace relationships here on our site.