Romance Is Big Business

Despite a softer economy than in the past, Valentine's Day is still celebrated by millions of people with money to spend, billions of dollars in fact. According to information provided by the National Retail Federation, aggregate monies spent on flowers, candy and other tokens of affection are estimated at $17.3 billion, with the typical purchase in the amount of $133.91, a modest increase from last year's $130.97.

Candy, flowers, jewelry, cards and dinners out top the lift of favorite gifts to give. The U.S. Census Bureau sheds more light on Cupid's holiday spending bonanza. According to "Valentine's Day 2014: Feb. 14" (Profile America: Facts for Features, January 14, 2014), there were nearly 1,200 chocolate and cocoa product manufacturing establishments in 2011 that accounted for $13.5 billion in shipments that same year. Over 15,000 florists accounted for an estimated $355 million in fresh cut roses. The History Channel website counts 150 million cards that are sent each year, "making Valentine's Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas." That's a lot of affection for your favorite friends and family members.

Besides gift giving, a survey carried out by the National Confectioners Association reveals that six out of ten people "agree that celebrating holidays like Valentine's Day brings happiness in tough economic times." See "New survey says Americans will choose chocolate over flowers this season" (January 29, 2014). The United States is not alone when it comes to February 14. See "Valentine's Day around the world" for a nice wrap-up, courtesy of New Zealand 3News.

Here's to a fun day of celebrating good things. In case one day is not enough, National Gumdrop Day follows on February 15, along with a continuation of the Random Acts of Kindness Week that runs through February 16, 2014.

Stick to Flowers on Valentine’s Day: Nurse Sends STD Diagnosis to Patient’s Girlfriend John Doe is out-of-luck for a romantic Valentine’s Day this year. He recently discovered that his protected health information regarding treatment for a sexually transmitted disease (“STD”) was sent to his girlfriend. While being treated for an STD at a New York clinic, John Doe was recognized by one of the clinic’s nurses. Unfortunately for … Continue Reading
Office Romances: 3-Part Series on How to Shield Your Company from Liability Part 3 According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, four in ten people admitted to dating a co-worker, and one-third eventually married that person.  Whether a relationship between peers, relationships between supervisors/subordinates, flings, long-term relationships, or extramarital affairs, office romances can lead to unwelcome complaints and expensive lawsuits. Part 1 of this three-part series addressed the potential risks... Continue Reading
Office Romances: 3-Part Series on How to Shield Your Company from Liability Part 2 More than ever, employers are facing serious claims arising from office romances.  Part 1 of this three-piece series covered the potential claims, charges and lawsuits that may arise from workplace relationships.  In this installment, learn why it is imperative to adopt a company policy addressing fraternization.  Part 3 will address tips for employers to mitigate... Continue Reading
Avoid Picking Up the Pieces of a Broken Heart with a Love Contract Valentine’s Day is drawing near. You know, that magical time of the year when bad tasting, heart-shaped confections and red roses are everywhere you look, including the workplace. Of course, an employer’s non-fraternization policy will do little to stop two adults from taking their relationship to the next level. Though office relationships on occasion may lead to good things for the employees involved like diamond ring purchases, white weddings, and gender-neutral nursery décor, more frequently they lead to problems for employers such as claims of favoritism, reduced productivity, ethical problems, and sexual harassment claims, just to name a few.
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Hunka Hunka Burning Love – How Employers Stop the Heartburn of Workplace Romances and Avoid Litigation With Valentine's Day approaching, it is a good time to remind employers that dear old Cupid is alive and well, and strutting his stuff in the workplace. I won't bore you with the statistics about how many romantic relationships blossom in the workplace, and how many of those end up in marriage or crash and burn like the Hindenburg. As many employers already know, it is not just the parties actually involved that can get burned when it comes to workplace romances. Most often, it is the employer that feels most the heartburn when workplace romances turn sour. Because romantic workplace relationships will develop, regardless of what an employer does to try to stop them, here are some thoughts about how to protect your workplace and avoid the inevitable sexual harassment lawsuit.
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