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District looking to review sexual harassment policies

The media is full of stories about inappropriate relationships between students and teachers, but what is appropriate when school employees date? The Saucon Valley, Pennsylvania, School Director feels that the school district needs to have a policy on employee dating; otherwise they could possibly open themselves up to sexual harassment lawsuits.

This could be an uphill battle as the Pennsylvania School Boards Association said that preventing staff from dating could present constitutional issues. And, no other districts in the state have addressed this issue.

The school director has heard about several employee relationships within departments and felt that the issue should be addressed. She feels that dating within a department could place challenges in regards to promotions and could raise discrimination suits and make others within the same department feel uncomfortable.

Those opposed to having a dating policy feel that if a relationship does exist between a manager and a subordinate then the manager needs to be removed from the evaluation process of the employee, but feels that it cannot dictate if someone wants to be in a consensual relationship. Also, they feel that a "no dating policy" would not work, but guidelines should be reviewed in order to protect everyone.

The school board has made no decision on the dating policy, but feels that the district should review their sexual harassment policies to make sure that all of their policies are up-to-date and that there is a section on employee dating and clearly explains what is appropriate in the workplace. The board will then present its findings and revisions for board approval.

Lehighvalleylive.com, "Saucon Valley School Board member wants employee dating policy," Sara K. Satullo, Nov. 9, 2012

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