Wilkes University

Personal Relationships

Work Relationships

Wilkes University employees are encouraged to socialize and develop professional relationships in the workplace.  The University recognizes that all individuals are entitled to freely choose their personal associations and relationships.   However, consensual romantic or sexual relationships between a supervisor and direct or indirect report may compromise or appear to compromise the supervisor’s objectivity related to employment matters including, but not limited to, work assignments, progressive discipline, promotion, and/or performance evaluations.  Such relationships are regarded as inappropriate and are strongly discouraged since they may create a conflict of interest, bias, or perception of bias.

If such a relationship exists or develops, the involved supervisor is obligated to confidentially disclose the relationship to the appropriate department head, next level administrator, and Chief Human Resources Officer. If it is determined that the relationship damages the reputation of the University or the workgroup, action will be taken to ensure that neither employee has any direct or indirect responsibility, authority, or control (real or perceived) over the other.  Depending on the circumstances, this action may include, but is not limited to, transfer(s) to another open position for which the employee(s) is qualified, and/or change in shift, or in situations when a transfer or change in shift is not possible, termination of employment for one or both of the parties involved may be considered. 

Relationships with Students

Faculty and staff members’ interactions with students are based on mutual trust, confidence, and professional ethics. If a faculty or staff member enters into a romantic and/or sexual relationship with a student, this trust and confidence are jeopardized since the relationship may create potential or perceived conflicts of interest. 

In order to avoid any apparent or actual conflict, romantic and/or sexual relationships between students and all University employees (both faculty and staff) are prohibited.  Employees engaging in such relationships will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. 

Please note: this policy does not apply to spouses of faculty/staff taking courses at the university.  However, to avoid the perception of bias, the university will make every effort to ensure that spouses do not enroll in a course being taught by their spouse. 

Effective Date: 08/06/2018


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