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, as it is difficult to define exactly the type of behavior that will be restricted.
Skip to main content. No-Dating Policies No-dating policies generally ban dating between a supervisor and their subordinate. Notification Policy Another option is to require employees to report whenever they enter into a consensual relationship. Love Contracts This is a written confirmation to management that any relationship taking place between employees is consensual.
Employee's Legal Rights The U.
Policy Guidelines When writing a workplace dating policy, it is important to reduce your potential legal liability. References 4 Austin Business Journal: Set tone from the top on workplace dating HRhero. How far should yours go? About the Author Since graduating with a degree in biology, Lisa Magloff has worked in many countries. Photo Credits beautiful date image by Kurhan from Fotolia. Accessed 20 January Policies About Workplace Dating.
Small Business - Chron. When a workplace romance sours, it can expose the company to increased liability, since the connection between alleged actors is easier to establish--essentially giving the plaintiff some good ammunition for his or her case. Relationships between supervisors and subordinates create even more potential problems.
6 Tips for Crafting an Employee Dating Policy
In a better scenario, coworkers would find it easier to claim that an employee received preferential treatment from a supervisor he or she is dating. In a poorer scenario, the relationship would end badly, one of the employees could claim that the relationship was non-consensual, or that sexual harassment existed. An employee could even make a case for unlawful retaliation if he or she receives a poor performance review from a former lover or if a co-worker receives a better evaluation from his or her boss.
There are a few different ways to manage this liability. When it comes to workplace dating policies, here are a few basic options:.
Interoffice dating policy
Generally, policies cover not only employees, but also contractors, vendors, suppliers, manufacturers, and the like.
Essentially, any relationship between two people that could have a negative effect on the company if things sour, or if one party is able to improperly influence the other would fall under the policy. One last generally acceptable rule: Even if it does not violate a written policy, your boss the CEO or the board might not care, and view it as a lack of senior management acumen. I tend to sound like a broken record when it comes to company policies.
So here it goes again: In my opinion, failure to equitably enforce a corporate policy is often worse than not having one. When it comes to workplace dating policies, here are a few basic options: You can do nothing. This seems to be the overwhelming favorite for smaller companies or companies that are just starting to formalize employee training.
Often a CEO or president will look at the potential for risk and weigh that against the ability to police and enforce a policy. For many smaller companies, they choose to go without a policy, and let the rules on harassment and discrimination do the job. Office relationships often inspire gossip, which can impede productivity and damage careers. Promote an open, transparent environment, so that employees are less inclined to hide their relationships—and coworkers are less likely to gossip.
Make it easy to report inappropriate activity. Sexual comments and disruptive behavior can render a workplace uncomfortable and unproductive. Employees should feel OK reporting activity that puts the company at risk. Lawsuits brought by employees against their employers are on the rise, and small businesses are not immune.
An EPLI endorsement to a small business commercial policy can help protect businesses in the case of a retaliation lawsuit. Ask your broker if EPLI is right for you.
Jeremy "Sprout" Brautman is a writer, problem solver, and big fan of growth. When he's not trying to solve problems to help small businesses grow, he can be found developing amenities to increase occupancy at his urban Ladybug Hotel. Toggle navigation Get started.Workplace Chemistry & Dating
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