Lastly, in this context, you should give strong thought to having both parties acknowledge, in writing, the voluntary and consensual nature of the relationship. With this legal backdrop in mind, here are a few tips for crafting non-fraternization policies: Make sure the manager has absolutely no input -- none whatsoever -- into the terms and conditions of their partner's employment. On the flip side, 41 percent of both male and female respondents have actively avoided getting romantically involved with a colleague at some point. Surveys conducted by online job site Vault. If, however, you decide to allow some form of peer-to-peer dating, address it head on. This trend may continue to gain steam. Provisions you might include in this document sometimes called a "love contract" are an acknowledgement of the company's anti-harassment and anti-retaliation policies, an agreement not to engage in PDA in the office, and a commitment to inform the company if the relationship becomes "unwelcome" in any way, or if the employee believes they are subject to any form of retaliation or other inappropriate conduct. No matter how you look at it, both legal and practical risks abound when someone has to supervise or even indirectly analyze or critique the work performance of their special someone. While most companies might prefer that their employees don't date each other in order to avoid problems in the workplace and the potential risk of things turning nasty if the relationship breaks down, blanket bans on dating colleagues rarely serve any meaningful purpose other than to encourage couples to keep things under the radar if they do find love in the office. His knowledge, expertise and commitment to every case are what set Justin apart from the crowd.
No matter how you look at it, both legal and practical risks abound when someone has to supervise or even indirectly analyze or critique the work performance of their special someone. However, if you find yourself in a situation in which you believe you have no choice operationally but to allow such a relationship, actively manage the risk. Employee fraternization is defined as a relationship that falls outside of normal work-related interactions and communications, which is usually but not necessarily romantic or sexual in nature. Make sure the manager has absolutely no input -- none whatsoever -- into the terms and conditions of their partner's employment. What Your Company Should Know Romance in the workplace can land your company in hot waters, especially in the absence of thoughtful HR policies. Although there are no laws which outright prohibit interoffice relationships, as shown in the news of late, they carry obvious risks , such as: Establish a clear and fair employee dating policy and mandate it as part of your company's employee fraternization framework. This article does not constitute legal advice. Notably for purposes of employee dating, there has also been some litigation surrounding "sexual favoritism," or the theory that it is unlawful discrimination for an employee to show preferential treatment to that person's romantic partner at the expense of other employees not involved in the relationship although -- full disclaimer -- courts are not uniformly aligned on this issue, and employers in many instances may have sound legal and factual defenses. Surveys conducted by online job site Vault. Where to get professional advice on employee fraternization If you need help establishing or actioning an employee fraternization and dating policy for your company, or if you require advice on how to handle employee relationships and how to prevent any problems that might arise as a result of them , contact an HR professional or a specialist employment law attorney. Attempting to do so will likely do little to prevent employees dating and having relationships but will almost certainly lead to them keeping their relationships secret for fear of losing their jobs or otherwise being penalized. The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, company, or individual. This trend may continue to gain steam. Additionally, inappropriate workplace behavior, lost productivity, the knock-on effect on other team members and acrimonious breakups are always a concern for employers when colleagues date or fall in love, but having an employee fraternization policy in place for your business or organization can help to avoid all of these things. Given these competing concerns, how can you craft employment policies which protect both your employees and your business? Company Culture Inter-Office Dating For example, polling suggests millennials are much more open to office romance than their older counterparts. Provide training for supervisors and managers on how to handle employee dating in the workplace. What is considered employee fraternization in the workplace? The Law and Workplace Dating Again, there are no laws which prohibit employee dating per se. If you make the decision to allow peer-to-peer relationships, create a culture of transparency and openness. Educate your employees — including supervisors and managers — on your company's sexual harassment policy. If, however, you decide to allow some form of peer-to-peer dating, address it head on. Ensure your team understands the difference between sexual harassment and consensual romantic relationships, and the line between the two. January 22, Share this Photo credit:
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