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But, depending on which partner you transfer, their role before the transfer, and their sex, you can be exposed to additional claims of sex discrimination.

And if you tend most often to transfer the subordinate, you can undermine employer credibility and decrease overall employee morale.

If you partner with your human resources organization and legal counsel now to put some protective measures in place, you will be ahead of the game if and when issues arise. Taking action now will help you continue to maintain a professional environment for all your employees going forward.

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Amen says “that romantic love and infatuation are not so much of an emotion as they are motivational drives that are part of the brain's reward system.” Kane agrees, saying that the human brain supports falling in love, which is why we have such a strong physiological response when we are attracted to another.

One incident of favoritism generally would not be enough to create a hostile work environment, but the Miller court ruled that a hostile work environment could result from a “widespread” atmosphere of sexual favoritism.

While the fact pattern in the Miller case may not be common, favoritism resulting in unlawful sexual harassment remains an issue for employers.

In a 2006 survey published by the Society for Human Resource Management and Career Journal.com, 80% of human resources professionals and 60% of employees polled said that there should not be a romance between a supervisor and subordinate.

(Interestingly, that 80% for HR professionals represented an increase from the prior year’s results while the 60% for employees represented a 10% decrease.) And only 26% of employees polled believe that romance at work should not be between people with a significant rank difference.

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