Ellen Landry, 29 years old
Workplace romance is a touchy subject. Employers tread lightly on banning relationships between coworkers because it can give the appearance of interfering in the personal lives of employees. On the other hand, workplace romances can be the source of problems if a staff member becomes a manager's paramour. The possibilities for workplace romances leading to sexual harassment complaints and company policy dating a hostile work environment are reasonable concerns, but even consensual relationships between coworkers can affect employee morale, job satisfaction and employee productivity. The possibility of unlawful sexual harassment comes to mind when employers implement policies concerning relationships between coworkers.
Every company needs to consider a policy on workplace dating. Without a clear policy, an office relationship can lead to charges of sexual harassment and legal consequences for the employer. Although some companies chose to have no policy on dating, that leaves them open to potential liability if a supervisor is shown to have sexually harassed a subordinate, for example, by giving a poor performance review to a former partner. To avoid this, companies institute various types of dating policy. No-dating policies generally ban dating between a supervisor and their subordinate. Employment attorney Anna Cohen, writing in HR Hero Online, suggests that no-dating policies can be problematic, company policy dating it is difficult to define exactly the type of behavior that will be restricted. For example, in the case of Ellis v. United Parcel Services, the 7th Circuit appellate court upheld a no-dating policy that forbade managers from a romantic relationship with any hourly employee, as long as it was consistently enforced.
Add or delete parts to communicate applicable rules regarding romantic relationships in the workplace and preserve harmony and fairness among all employees. We also set some standards for acceptable behavior when flirting with colleagues. This policy applies to all our employees regardless of gender, sexual orientation or other protected characteristics. We explicitly prohibit non-consensual relationships. Before you decide to date a colleague, please consider any problems or conflicts of interest that may arise. If a colleague is persistent in flirting with you and becomes annoying or disturbs your work, ask them to stop and inform your manager [ if they continue ].
More about company policy dating:
Before you hook up with that cute guy in marketing, make sure your company doesn't forbid office romances. According to a study by online dating site eHarmony, more people meet their spouses at work or school than anywhere else. In company policy dating, some high profile couples -— Bill and Melinda Gates, for example -— began their romances in the office. While some companies are lax when it comes to relationships outside of work, others strictly prohibit off-hours fraternization between employees. In an era when sexual harassment is a real concern for organizations, the notion of two employees dating each other does have potential for some tricky policy questions.
When it comes to meeting people, the office is the new village. Office relationships often also rise out of office friendships, in which mutual trust is already present. Frederick S. He argues that co-worker couples spend more time at work, take fewer sick days, and are less likely to quit. So why does office romance get a bad rep? When a workplace relationship goes south, the parties involved must still see each other every day in the office. This can lead to awkward encounters, and the potential for claims of sexual harassment and retaliation. Retaliation can take company policy dating forms: termination, shift changes, pay cuts, transfers, and other adverse actions have been found to be retaliatory. In some states, privacy laws prevent an employer from restricting employee relationships—unless a conflict of interest is involved. A romantic relationship between a supervisor and subordinate provides the potential for a conflict and the opportunity for the employer to require a love contract.
The dating or fraternization policy adopted by an organization reflects the culture of the organization. Employee-oriented, forward-thinking workplaces recognize that one of the places that employees meet their eventual spouse or partner is at work. But, relationships can also go awry and result in friction and conflict at work. It can affect the team, the department, and even the mood of the organization when stress permeates the air. The key to a fraternization policy is to minimize the impact of the things that can go wrong in the workplace while maximizing the powerfully positive aspects of employee relationships. You also want to identify the relationships that are forbidden because of their potential impact at work.