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Ted Hollis Outlines Challenges of Workplace Romance in Human Resources Director Article

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Romantic relationships in the workplace can present a variety of challenges for employers, and Ted Hollis shared insight on steps they should take to minimize risk in a Human Resources Director article about the topic.

Hollis, a Labor & Employment partner in the firm’s Indianapolis office, noted the situation can be especially complex as the nature of a relationship evolves. An excerpt:

Office romance opens the door for potential claims of sexual harassment, which constitutes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of sexual nature that implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with their work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

“The key part is that it must be unwelcome,” says employment lawyer Ted Hollis, partner at national law firm Quarles, which has an office in San Diego. “A relationship that starts as welcome to both parties may at some point devolve into one breaking it off and the other being unwilling to accept that to the point that their actions become unwelcome. In the case of a supervisor and subordinate, maybe the supervisor believes its welcome, but the subordinate feels forced into a relationship to protect themselves from adverse action at work.”


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