Sunday, June 22, 2014

Delicate Lines Between Company Matchmaking and Impropriety

Some companies have strict no-dating-amongst-employees policies, in light of potential conflicts, including distraction from work and fights that have arisen from employees of the same company dating one another. Other companies are less stringent, and even encourage dating amongst employees.
The work place is not the un-ideal place to meet a potential mate. I have friends, in fact, who met and were literally married on the job. I myself have had meaningful relationships that began at work. It is only intelligent to desire that our significant others have work ethics. There are precautions that both companies and workers should exercise before becoming involved in workplace romance, however…
Companies, first and foremost, should never insist that employees date individuals other than those with whom they share mutual interest. However “good” the intentions may be, or regardless of how great a couple an employer thinks two employees would make, if either party lacks interest in the other, the employer insisting that the disinterested party dates the other could create a hostile working environment, which is actionable under state and federal laws.

Employees should consider the effect that dating coworkers might have on their work performance, and the potential for conflict that might arise from spending so much time with or around a significant other, specifically if they are unmarried and/or are not in a serious/committed relationship and desire to or are exploring other options for partners.   

There have been knock-down drag out fights at companies over just this, and some employees and others involved in such altercations have been seriously injured and/or suffered loss of life and/or employment.  

Some instances of company matchmaking where there’s a mutual interest in employees dating one another are unethical, particularly those instances that resemble episodes of antebellum slave breeding and/or those that are control tactics or are malicious in nature.

Malicious Matches

The movie “Deliver Us From Eva,” in which the protagonist (portrayed by Gabriel Union) becomes the subject of a prankster who’d been paid by her brothers in law to faux pas romance her, comes to mind. Though Eva may not depict an actual person who became the subject of a malicious match [that actually had a happy ending], I can personally confirm that some companies actually do arrange relationships amongst employees, and frequently for similar reasons that the act was carried out in this movie, i.e. the employee has a robust personality or is opinionated or exudes a sense of dignity or leadership that a superior might find threatening, even if the employee is not behaving unprofessionally.

Some instances of malicious matchmaking appear to be designed to exacerbate hardships or cause emotional distress for especially African American women, i.e. the culprits are hired to impregnate an employee or to become impregnated by an employee, though the relationship was never designed to last, or the goal might be to spread a sexually transmitted disease* to or even to murder the subject. Emotional abuse, stealing from, and/or damaging the property of often unsuspecting employees or individuals might be the object in some cases. *When I learned that World Aids Day is on December 1..., the day that Rosa Parks refused to yield her seat to a Caucasian man, my antennas immediately perked. I thought of a film that was shown in one of my collegiate sociology classes discussing how the HIV virus was created as a biological weapon against Blacks and homosexuals. Even if World Aids Day was not established for the purpose of snubbing Rosa Parks's historic act and/or as a wager of biological war against particularly African American dissidents, some individuals are using the day to infer that there is a nexus, or for cause to rally celebration for spoils of war...

Such activity is often launched for the ultimate purpose of “breaking” or driving the subject to destitution, or at least out of a company, out of school (if relevant), or in some instances out of their (the victim’s) home or out of a city or state altogether. Some individuals are goaded into employment with certain companies or into certain positions for this purpose. 

This is not to discount that there are individuals out there with ill agendas of their own that do not involve any companies or others period; there are people generally who specifically prey upon the working class, etc. Nonetheless, there are in fact companies that target certain employees for relational [and other] attacks, and frequently for no reasons other than that they are women and/or minorities, though in some cases the subject might not be either.

Investigational Matchmaking Gone Wrong 

It is not uncommon for workers who’ve had disputes with their employers to be subjected to investigational matchmaking. The purpose here is informational, of course; and in some instances the individual initiating the relationship is a private investigator acting on behalf of the company, which might be concerned with the possibility of litigation stemming from some manner of violation of the subject employee’s or former employee’s rights; or the investigation might be spearheaded by an external insurance or law enforcement agency for some reason or another.  

When a coerced relationship is for lawful investigational purposes, parameters of professionalism should always be respected, though those parameters are not always respected. Whereas most other instances of matchmaking herein described are unethical and unlawful, here it is permissible, so long as the relationships are not sexual in nature or overtly misleading…

Matchmaking Rackets in Public Service Agencies

There are unscrupulous individuals employed for agencies like the Department of Human Services who actively and routinely arrange relationships and pregnancies, for the apparent purpose of solidifying their job security and/or acquiring public funds on behalf of subjects, which, of course, is deplorable and equitable with any other manner of racketeering.

Prosecution of Malicious Matchmaking of Employees, Public Benefits Recipients, Etc.

Although there are no specific or verbatim laws to address the issue here, where it is demonstrable that a company or public service agency coerced an individual or individuals to date any of its employees or former employees or clients for especially malicious purposes the employer or agency can and should be held liable for conspiracy to commit whatever the malicious end might be, for intentional infliction of emotional distress, and any and all other relevant crimes committed against the subject employee or individual.

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