Valentines Day may offer the hope of love and romance for some . . but it also conceals dark secrets and torment that can lead to legal trouble and ferment like you may not believe.
Well, for one it is a legal headache in the workplace. Lawyers will tell you that employers should ignore the day – or recognize it at their peril – because it creates more potential for workplace legal issues than anything else. The receipt of Valentines Day cards or their non-receipt, the nature of the cards or gifts and other issues have been raised regularly in employment law-related issues, performance reviews, workplace disputes and much, much more.
Who would have thought it?
A rercent CareerBuilder survey showed that 39 percent of workers said they have dated a co-worker at least once in their career, and 17 percent admitted to dating co-workers at least twice.
But the reality is that at work your coworker is your colleague first, not your lover. Just as you shouldn’t be smooching in the hallway, the workplace is simply not the time to celebrate the romance of the day between the two of you at work.
Beyond those who have relationships, though, for some reason bosses feel compelled to give their employees cards and gifts on Valentine’s Day, and vice versa, and coworkers feel the need to express their fondness for each other on this special day.
Glassdoor reported that 31 percent of those workers surveyed said they received a Valentine’s Day themed gift from a coworker. Employees in the workplace will receive balloons, flowers, candy and singing telegrams from their loved ones. However, if you are a coworker, that person sending the romantic items shouldn’t be you.
But Valentines Day issues go beyond the workplace. They have also played a central role in the breakups of marriages and long-term relationships, leading to accusations about cards, gifts and special favors that belie belief, but which are produced in evidence in cases repeatedly.
And there are also repeated sexual harassment issues that arise in both a criminal law and civil law context. The use of Valentines Day armour to secure romance and relationships can lead to serious legal issues for those acting in the name of love.
And we haven’t even mentioned the Valentines Day massacre.
Watch it! It’s Valentines Day!
What’s your view?
She says even one employee leaving a non-sexual, non-suggestive Valentine’s Day card on another employee’s desk can spark expansive and morale-sapping legal fights.
“That person may immediately take offense and immediately report it and already you have a person who says ‘I felt uncomfortable, I felt I was being harassed,” she said.
Hildreth says she has seen cases where employees who received an innocent Valentine’s Day card months earlier have decided to pull that out of their pocket when confronted with a bad performance review or the threat of dismissal.
“They bring up the fact that, you know, I’ve been feeling harassed,” she said. “For example, on Valentine’s Day, I received, without my consent, a card or something, so now they have reinvented that situation and turned it into something bad for the employer.”