Employment Law Blog: Happy Valentine's Day - Maybe!


As the holiday approaches, romantically inclined employees look forward to lovely deliveries and declarations that appear in the workplace. Employers desiring fewer holiday and post-holiday complaints may want to do some pre-holiday planning and reminders.

Policies - This is a good time for some education on your workplace discrimination and harassment policies. If you do not have a sex discrimination and harassment policy, this is a good time to get one. Racy cards, funny shaped confections, suggestive balloons and explicit messages do violate your policies (or at least, they should), and should not appear in the workplace. If they do, employees should be instructed to keep them from public display or comment immediately, and take them home.

Attire - Red and pink colors are fun. Too much skin, and pictures or writing on clothing is not fun for your human resources director. Remind employees of any workplace attire or dress policies that you have, and that Valentine’s Day is not an exception.

Flowers - They should be tasteful - not dead or suggestive. The allergic employee’s right not to sneeze all day should be taken seriously, and offending foliage moved from his or her area. All flowers should be removed when they die - which is usually several days, not weeks.

Email - All of the rules apply to email on Valentine’s Day - receiving, sending, sex discrimination and harassment, and your policy on personal use of the company email. Remind employees about your policies, and that their company email is not really private!  Let’s be careful out there and not create litigation exhibits.

Wellness programs - Chocolates, candy and cookies in the workplace are a nice treat. This is a good time for your wellness program to urge everyone to remember their exercise programs or go for a short walk on break time.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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