AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Employment & Labor Law for Public Safety Agencies


Back to list of subjects             Back to Legal Publications Menu

Fraternization With Co-workers - Prohibitions on

     Monthly Law Journal Article: Does Ordering an Employee to Refrain From Certain Personal Contacts Violate Constitutional Due Process? by Michael P. Stone and Marc J. Berger, 2007 (3) AELE Mo. L.J. 501.
     Monthly Law Journal Article: Relatives and Romance: Nepotism and Fraternization, 2007 (7) AELE Mo. L. J. 201.
     Monthly Law Journal Article: Regulation of an Employee's Off-Duty Activities. Part Four– Sexual Conduct, 2008 (3) AELE Mo. L. J. 201.
     Rejecting a freedom of association argument, the 11th Circuit dismisses the suit of a demoted firefighter who had an extramarital affair with one of his subordinates. The relationship between supervisors and subordinates is critical to the effective functioning of the fire department. Starling v. Bd. of Co. Cmsnrs., #09-11168, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 7091 (11th Cir.).
     Eighth Circuit holds that it is not illegal under Title VII for an employer to discharge an employee for consensual sexual conduct with a superior. Tenge v. Phillips, #05-2803, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 10586 (8th Cir. 2006). {N/R}
     Sixth Circuit agrees that a county had a rational basis for terminating the plaintiff's at-will employment where her romantic relationship with a man who is married to a woman employed in the same building was unacceptably disruptive to the workplace. Beecham v. Henderson County, #04-5845,422 F.3d 372, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 19431, 2005 FED App. 0385P, 23 IER Cases (BNA) 648 (6th Cir.2005). {N/R}
     Arbitrator sustains a misconduct complaint against an officer who had sexual relations with an Explorer Scout. A ten-day suspension is reduced to a written reprimand because management failed to communicate the fraternization prohibition in writing as required under the bargaining agreement. City of Bremerton and Bremerton Police Officers Guild, 121 LA (BNA) 915 (Reeves, 2005). [2006 FP Jan]
     National Labor Relations Board, in a 2-to-1 decision, upholds an employer's work rule that directs employees not to "fraternize on duty or off duty, date or become overly friendly with the client's employees or with co-employees." The rule was designed "to provide safeguards so that security will not be compromised by interpersonal relationships either between ... fellow security guards or between ... security guards and clients' employees." Guardsmark, LLC and Service Empl. Int. Union, L-24/7, #20-CA-31573-1, 2005 NLRB Lexis 257, 344 NLRB No. 97 (NLRB 2005). {N/R}
     Sixth Circuit holds that it was not a violation of a teacher's due process rights of intimate association or privacy to deny her tenure for maintaining a close personal relationship with a student. Flaskamp v. Dearborn Pub. Sch., #02-2435, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 20760 (6th Cir. 2004). {N/R}
     Sixth Circuit overturns a verdict won by a former police officer that disobeyed the chief's order to stop dating a subordinate. Such rules prevent favoritism and sexual harassment complaints. Anderson v. City of LaVergne, #02-6094, 371 F.3d 879, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 11734, 2004 FED App. 0180P (6th Cir. 2004). [2004 FP Sep]
     Employer must have an anti-fraternization policy to punish an off-duty relationship. Without a privacy policy, the employer could not discipline the grievant for reading a superior's e-mails, or for opening sexually explicit e-mails from a coworker where the sending party was not disciplined. Monterey County and Individual Grievant, CSMCS No. ARB-01-0050, 117 LA (BNA) 897 (Levy, 2002). [2003 FP Feb]  
    Washington supreme court concludes that "dating" is not protected under the state's Marital Status Discrimination laws. Policies prohibiting dating of co-workers is valid in the private sector, but may violate the First Amendment when the parties are public employees. Waggoner v. Ace Hdwe., 134 Wash.2d 748, 953 P.2d 88, 1998 Wash. Lexis 206. [1998 FP 136]
     U.S. District Court upholds wrongful termination claim by employee who was fired for cohabiting with a former executive. Pasch v. Katz Media, 10 IER Cases (BNA) 1574, 1995 U.S.Dist. Lexis 11153 (S.D.N.Y.), citing N.Y. Labor Law Sec. 201-d(2)(c). [1996 FP 6]
     Appellate panel concludes that dating is not a protected activity and sustained their terminations for violating a company policy. New York v. Wal-Mart Stores, 10 IER Cases (BNA) 255, 621 N.Y.S.2d 158, 207 A.D.2d 150 (1995). [1996 FP 6]
     Former deputy settles her suit against the sheriff; she was fired after dating a married deputy. Massingale v. Taylor, U.S. Dist. Ct. (D. S.C. 1991), reported in the Anderson [S.C.] Independent (9/5/91).
     Employer's alleged enforcement of its rule prohibiting dating among co-workers, if applied to the plaintiff because of her gender, states a disparate practice claim under Title VII. Zentiska v. Cardinal, 708 F.Supp. 1318, 1988 U.S.Dist. Lexis 11047, 47 FEP Cases (BNA) 1823. {N/R}


Back to list of subjects             Back to Legal Publications Menu