As a complement to the Marion-Dillon County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs (MDCBDSN) policy prohibiting sexual harassment, it is the policy of this agency to ensure that the work environment is free from intimate, romantic or dating relationships between supervisors and their subordinates or between employees involved in a power-differentiated relationship. The Agency believes that such power-differentiated relationships can lead to sexual harassment in the workplace (or the appearance of harassment) and adversely affect agency morale, operations and productivity because of favoritism, bias or unfair treatment (or the appearance of such). A "power-differentiated relationship" is any supervisor-subordinate work relationship or other work relationship in which one employee supervises or manages (directly or indirectly) another employee or makes decisions concerning another employee's terms, conditions or privileges of employment.
MDCBDSN does not intend this co-worker dating policy to otherwise discourage friendships or social activities among the agency's employees. This policy applies solely to employees who are involved in a power-differentiated work relationship. All employees of the agency are covered.
Enforcement of this policy depends on communication and dialogue between management and other employees. To hear and protect the interests of both is extremely important. Therefore, the agency will apply an "open door" policy to convey the expressed purpose of this co-worker dating policy and to allow employees involved in a supervisor-subordinate or other power-differentiated relationship to discuss their situation with the appropriate management officials. As part of the open door policy, when an intimate, romantic or dating relationship develops between a supervisor and subordinate, the employees involved in the relationship are strongly encouraged to immediately report it to their immediate supervisor. If it involves the immediate supervisor, then contact should be made with the Executive Director. If it involves the Executive Director then contact should be made with the Board Chairperson.
Once an intimate, romantic or dating relationship between a supervisor-subordinate or other power-differentiated relationship has been disclosed, the agency may attempt to modify the work relationship by transferring at least one of the employees within the organization so as to remove the direct supervisor-subordinate relationship or by considering other available options. In making this decision, the agency will work with both employees and obtain their input on which employee would be best suited to a transfer or any other available option. This decision however, remains solely within the agency's discretion. If these options are not workable, the agency may give the employees the option to either terminate their relationship or to continue it, at which point an employee will be required to resign. Additionally, supervisors who have had dating relationships with any subordinate will not be permitted to have any continuing influence over the subordinate employee's promotions, raises or other benefits or terms of employment.
If the agency determines that an employee has encouraged, participated or permitted a violation of this policy, the employee will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action. If, however, any violation of this policy has caused or led to favoritism, unfair bias, harassment, preferential treatment or has in any way adversely affected MDCBDSN operations or productivity, then more serious disciplinary actions may be taken.
This policy is not a contract of employment and does not intend to change, alter or modify each employee's at-will relationship with the agency.