Professor of Management, The H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Nova Southeastern University, USA
Professor of Business Law and Ethics, The H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Nova Southeastern University, USA
While most employers, managers, and employees have heard and read much about the #MeToo movement, little academic attention has been devoted to ethical analysis of office romance and sexual favoritism polices in the modern workplace. Everyone is likely to agree that romantic relationships will continue in the workplace regardless of organizational policies; nevertheless appropriate, policies should be in place to protect against any adverse legal consequences stemming from romantic relationships in the workplace; and these policies also should be promulgated and enforced in such a manner that all workplace policies and actions can be considered moral and ethical. Accordingly, in this article, we provide a thorough ethical analysis of office romance and sexual favoritism in the sensitive era of the #MeToo movement as well as the “canceled culture” era. We offer specific recommendations to management and human resources professionals on how to provide a safe and healthy work environment for all employees, how to avoid liability for sexual harassment cases as they relate to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as well as how to ensure that the workplace is fair and just for all. We conclude that every company’s management and human resources departments should take full responsibility for ensuring that business decisions, especially those affecting the employees, are aligned with legal, moral, and, of course, ethical norms. First and foremost, appropriate policies, programs, procedures, and training are necessary to combat sexual discrimination and harassment and thus to ensure a fair, just, and functional workplace. We believe that prevention is the best means of proactively eliminating sexual harassment in the workplace. Each firm should include a clear and strong policy statement against sexual harassment and discrimination in their code of conduct expectations. The policy should have direct statement of the intolerance and prohibition of any form of sexual harassment and illegal discrimination. Each firms should also have an effective policy distribution, communication to employees and enforcement plan. Finally, retaliation must be avoided. As such, there should be assurances that complaining employees will be protected from harassment or retaliation.
Keywords: office romance, love contracts, sexual favoritism, #MeToo movement, ethical egoism, ethical relativism, utilitarianism, Kantian ethics.
JEL Classification: F10.
Cite as: Mujtaba, B. G., Cavico, F. J. (2020). Ethical Analysis of Office Romance and Sexual Favoritism Policies in the #MeToo Workplace and “Cancel Culture” Era. SocioEconomic Challenges, 4(4), 132-150. https://doi.org/10.21272/sec.4(4).132-150.2020
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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