That guy in accounting is just too charming to avoid —- and his feelings about you are mutual. According to a study by online dating site eHarmony, more people meet their spouses at work or school than anywhere else. Neither will take legal action against the employer or each other if the relationship ends. In these situations, there is frequently a feeling among some of the staff that having a couple in such a small business setting is counterproductive. In each of these articles, Kim will walk you through a real-life HR scenario, using her expert knowledge and years of experience to break down the pros and cons of various ways this situation could be handled, which option is likely best for you and your business, and all the ins and outs of the rules and regulations that could impact the scenario and your decisions. Establish workplace agreements regarding relationships. Steamy e-mails and texts sent on company time over corporate networks, for example, could cause some discomfort for the company PR team if they are made public. Are accessible through the employee handbook. This is the time to let employees know: Some argue that if both parties are in a consensual relationship, what they do on their own time has no bearing on the company and should not be prohibited. Why Policies are Necessary 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. Company Policies on Dating in the Workplace by Kristen Hamlin Before you hook up with that cute guy in marketing, make sure your company doesn't forbid office romances. Employers have several options when it comes to addressing workplace romances. If a relationship is found to be a result of coercion, the organization should immediately investigate for sexual harassment. With this approach, there are things to include and remember in your policy and training in order to best mitigate risk and address potential concerns of relationships and dating in the workplace.
Some argue that if both parties are in a consensual relationship, what they do on their own time has no bearing on the company and should not be prohibited. Employers have several options when it comes to addressing workplace romances. Here are four key things that should be part of your policy and training: If a relationship is found to be a result of coercion, the organization should immediately investigate for sexual harassment. Use language that does not single out opposite-sex partnerships as the norm. Afternoon trysts in the supply closet are only fun on television. Common Policy Features While dating is a concern to human resources departments, few companies have actually instituted policies regarding romantic relationships between employees. During these trainings is also the time to clearly prohibit managers from dating subordinate employees, even if layers of managers separate them. More importantly, organizations are concerned about potentially embarrassing situations that come from romantically involved employees. Avoiding Distractions While most companies that prohibit dating among co-workers focus on the supervisor—subordinate relationship, some prohibit dating for other reasons. Company Policies on Dating in the Workplace by Kristen Hamlin Before you hook up with that cute guy in marketing, make sure your company doesn't forbid office romances. It also may state that the pair: Conduct Regular Sexual Harassment Training Expectations should be clearly stated during regular, periodic sexual harassment trainings. Will maintain professionalism in the workplace. Are accessible through the employee handbook. Sets forth that the relationship is consensual. This disclosure enables the company to determine whether a conflict of interest exists and to consider options for resolving the conflict of interest. While some companies are lax when it comes to relationships outside of work, others strictly prohibit off-hours fraternization between employees. In fact, some high profile couples -— Bill and Melinda Gates, for example -— began their romances in the office. According to a study by online dating site eHarmony, more people meet their spouses at work or school than anywhere else. However, if an employer does decide to ban romantic relationships in the workplace, careful wording of the policy is critical. Ban workplace relationships completely. Most company dating policies focus on the working relationship between the two parties; in other words, they prohibit supervisors or managers from dating their subordinates. This approach is used by the majority of employers, is generally effective, and is considered a best practice in approaching workplace romances. Others argue that when two co-workers are in a relationship, it has the potential to create uncomfortable situations for everyone -— imagine a staff meeting where two team members have been arguing about their relationship, and those feelings spill over into the meeting -— and thus dating should be prohibited.
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