Issues in workplace dating

The contract should include information on the company’s sexual harassment and discrimination policies, as well as information about whom to contact for help.

Include information on inappropriate conduct and the expectation that the relationship won’t affect others or their individual work.

The most common problem with workplace romances is if the former lovebirds clash after a breakup and harass one another while at work or file workplace a sexual harassment claim just to get revenge.

Antiharassment laws require employers to take all reasonable actions to prevent harassment in the workplace.

If the company is willing to work with the couple, then it is more likely that the lovebirds will communicate their problems in an appropriate manner.

However, employees may also have good reason to try to keep their relationship secret.

Protecting the company from liability is the top priority, and if the proper policies are put in place and upheld, then the happy couple can live the dream and not become an HR nightmare.

Other areas of concern are inappropriate sharing of confidential company information between the two romantic partners, or the possible damage to the organization’s image if the pairing of the two employees is seen as unprofessional.Office relationships can seem harmless at first, but when the two lovers start showing favoritism, or if the situation involves a manager dating a subordinate–then it can quickly become a nightmare for HR.When two employees begin a relationship, it tends to create office gossip, as everyone watches and speculates if the relationship is going to last.HR can educate the employees on the various signs that an office romance is having a negative impact on the company (other employees feeling affected, or that the two employees are getting unfair advantages, etc.).Discuss how the employees are expected to behave professionally and that romantic spats should be kept out of the work environment.

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Add specifics on public displays of affection and professionalism (such as reminding the parties to address each other by name, and not a nickname or pet name.) An employer can’t force an employee to sign a consensual romance contract but can explain to the employees how a written documentation of their relationship can protect both them and the company from potential issues in the future.

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