Carmel school board approves boundaries for employees in romantic relationships

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Carmel Clay Schools unanimously adopted a new policy March 26 that outlines boundaries for employees in “personal relationships,” which include those of a romantic or intimate nature.

The board adopted the policy approximately two months after former Supt. Nicholas Wahl and Human Resources Director Corinne Middleton resigned. The two had been put on leave in October 2017 as the school board conducted a review of district leadership, which included examining the relationship between the two administrators.

School board member Pam Knowles, a member of the policy committee, read a statement at the meeting that outlined the need for the new guidelines.

“Included in the leadership review conducted earlier this year was also a review of policies that could impact leadership in the district,” she said. “At that time, attention was focused nationwide to the relationships between employees and how the workplace should react to those. All of this led to the consideration of the (non-fraternization) policy.”

The policy states that individuals in close, personal relationships may not work in positions with a “direct, indirect or perceived reporting relationship” between the two or where one could influence the other’s terms or conditions of employment.

It states that each employee is responsible for promptly reporting any existing or potential close personal relationship that may violate the policy to the director of human resources. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination, it states.

The district’s previous guidelines didn’t prohibit such a relationship, although it stated that if a married or cohabiting employee directly reports to his or her significant other, one will be transferred.

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