Is it legal for an employer to ask you what your relationship is with another employee?

UPDATED: Sep 3, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 3, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is it legal for an employer to ask you what your relationship is with another employee?

Human Resources made me answer questions about what my relationship was with a fellow co-worker. They made me write a statement and explain what our relationship was. How is this legal?

Asked on September 3, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The better question, unfortunately, might be how is it not legal? Employers have considerable discretion to set terms and conditions of employment. Those tems and conditions can include, for example, anti-fraternization policies (e.g. no dating or other romantic/intimite relationships) and anti-nepotism (no blood or marital relationships). Even in the absence of a formal policy, an employer, in the absence of an employment contract to the contrary, has a right to inquire into anything which it thinks could affect work performance or efficiency, which includes the relationships among employees, and to take action if it deems necessary. There are actually very few privacy rights at work, unfortunately, and employers can ask what questions or set what conditions they want--employees who don't want to answer those questions or abide by those conditions have the option of seeking other employment.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption