In each IntegrityStar edition, we highlight some frequently asked questions.
The following FAQs provide general guidelines for all employees. And, in this fifth edition, we offer questions and answers related to workplace relationships.
For more specific guidance, please contact University Compliance, Ethics, and Risk at 407-823-6263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have become friendly with a consultant through my work at the university. I am not in a position to influence his contract renewal or how much work he gets. He invited me to stay at his home for the weekend to play golf at a great course in his area. I will pay my own transportation, greens fees, and will probably bring a token gift of wine or candy for my host. May I go?
The university does not want to interfere with the personal friendships of its employees. However, depending on your position with the university, this kind of offer could be viewed as a conflict of interest and accepting the offer may violate state statutes. Review the UCF 2-009 Gifts and Honoraria policy and register for the online training to make sure you understand the complex rules on this subject.
A co-worker asked me to let him handle a particular contract because the vendor was an old friend. Is this acceptable?
No. All of our business decisions must be fair and impartial, and this situation breaches our impartiality. You should not give this transaction to your co-worker. Furthermore, if any employee is assigned to handle a transaction that involves a friend or family member, the relationship must be disclosed and the matter should be referred to another employee. You should also review the applicable Procurement Procedures Manual.
I want to date my supervisor. We are both single and really seem to have a chemistry. I am a little afraid to ask because of the policies. What should I do?
The university prohibits amorous relationships between employees and their supervisors. Review the UCF 3-008.2 Employment of Relatives policy and the amorous relationships section of UCF 2-004 Prohibition of Discrimination, Harassment and Related Interpersonal Violence and consult with Human Resources and/or the Office of Institutional Equity with any questions.
I want to recommend my girlfriend for a job at the university. She won’t be working with me, and she won’t be an employee. Is this okay?
It’s okay for your girlfriend to submit an application to a UCF job posting. You may recommend her, but you may NOT be a part of the hiring process or supervise your girlfriend’s work at the university.
I am a manager and I believe that two of my direct reports are dating. What should I do?
Dating between co-workers can present a potential or real conflict in the workplace. According to the university policy UCF 3-008.2 Employment of Relatives, this relationship meets the definition of a relative. There are procedures that supervisors must follow when relatives work in the same unit, department, or college, including preparing an Employment of Relatives form and submitting it for the university’s formal review.
Why is the university getting involved in amorous relationships?
Employees working with students must be aware that amorous relationships with students are likely to lead to difficulties and have the potential to place employees at great personal and professional risk. The power difference between employees as compared to students means that any amorous relationship between an employee and a student is potentially exploitative or could at any time be perceived as exploitative. Employees engaged in such relationships also need to be aware that they may unexpectedly be placed in a position of responsibility for the student’s instruction or evaluation.
Amorous relationships between supervisors and their subordinate employees often adversely affect decisions, distort judgment, and undermine workplace morale for all employees, including those not directly engaged in the relationship. This can lead to claims of favoritism, bias, and collusion.