Love contracts for workplace dating
Co-workers are more likely to fall for each other for the following reasons: In effect, dating brings human emotions back into the cubicles of the corporate environment.
As the shifting generational groups impact workplace cultures, HR Solutions’ 2009 National Normative data also confirms a rise in employees seeking a work/life balance with 59 percent of workers sharing that their organizations truly support balancing work and personal life, up from 57 percent the previous year.
workers have dated an office colleague, with 31 percent of those romances progressing on to marriage, according to a recent workplace dating survey survey by Career Builder. Yesterday’s employer policies banning or restricting workplace dating are giving way to the so-called love contract, a written acknowledgment that a workplace relationship is consensual.
Attorney Marilyn Sneirson…suggests several key elements that should be addressed in love contracts: • Dating employees are expected to follow certain guidelines, such as refraining from displays of affection at work or work- related events • Either employee “can end the relationship without fear of work-related retaliation” • Dating employees agree to waive their rights to pursue a claim of sexual harassment for any event prior to the signing of the contract Does anyone actually follow these kinds of protocols?
Most companies have written policies banning supervisor-subordinate relationships, and enforce them by transferring, demoting, or firing employees who are discovered in such romances.
Some companies are asking their employees who date to sign “love contracts”, hoping that documenting the consensual nature of the relationship will mitigate future problems.
Friel touts love contracts, which have been around for about eight years, as a method to embrace inevitable workplace dating, but said good training and emphasizing the company policy to new employees is the best way to avoid sexual-harassment lawsuits.
Generally, the terms of such a contract would involve both parties agreeing to abide by company policies, both while dating and should the relationship end.
Lisa Friel, vice president of sexual-misconduct consulting and investigations at T&M Protection Resources, told found that 4 out 10 employers admitted to ignoring office-relationship policies because they are difficult to monitor. Most offices have undoubtedly seen their share of co-working couples, torrid love affairs and sordid scandals. Alan Lesnewich, a partner at law firm Fisher & Phillips, told the contract is a preemptive approach to avoid any vengeance that might surface if an office relationship should sour.But in the latest effort to curb the (sometimes) messy aftermath of those relationships, some companies are enforcing “love contracts.” Rather than prohibiting office romances altogether, the love-contract policy requires both participants to sign off that the relationship is consensual, with full understanding of the company’s sexual-harassment policies, reports. “The advantage of a love contract is that you have a document to point to in addition to your normal second line of defense,” he said.Let me illustrate the kinds of office debauchery I’ve witnessed in the past, when dating bans were still the norm: – A makeout session on the ground, between cars in the parking lot, at 11am.– A very active Jacuzzi at an office offsite – Don’t get me started on offsite hotel rooms – One couple kept late nights. Perhaps the Internet and publishing industries, where I’ve worked in the past, employ more young people than others, making these cases exceptional.