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Workplace romances are a modern inevitability. Many people work longer hours than ever before. Global transactions extend business hours around the clock and increase travel. Cell phones and e-mail bring the workplace wherever we go. Employees are almost never completely out of touch with their co-workers. Friendships and intimacies should, do and will arise. Indeed, workplace-born romances represent many workers’ best hopes for love and happiness. Employees have a right to their romances. When it comes to keeping employers out of those romances, employees’ rights are protected by the California Constitution, the California Labor Code and the U.S. Constitution. Employers, on the other hand, have legitimate needs to protect the productivity of their workplaces and the right to act reasonably to prevent workplace romances from spawning sexual harassment or other tort claims. The following is a review of the current state of the law in this area and an evaluation of its likely future.

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