Supervisors can get into trouble when their love lives mix with their management roles, according to a court ruling described by the Associated Press on Tuesday.
The story said the California Supreme Court ruled that a manager who has affairs with subordinates can create a work climate that amounts to sexual harassment even for uninvolved employees.
In the court case, former employees at the Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla complained about then-warden Lewis Kuykendall, who was sexually involved with at least three women at the same time, according to the AP.
An isolated instance of favoritism would not ordinarily constitute sexual harassment, Chief Justice Ronald George wrote in the unanimous decision, the story said.
But when it is so widespread that "the demeaning message is conveyed to female employees that they are viewed by management as 'sexual playthings' or that the way required for women to get ahead in the workplace is by engaging in sexual conduct," it constitutes harassment, he wrote, according to the AP.