Yes, in the past, the lion`s share of organizations had policies that prohibited managers from dating people who manage them. But now this dating policy is thriving in entirely new areas. Some organizations are taking more drastic measures, such as banning all business appointments, such as .B. Others require that «love contracts» be signed, also known as «consensual romance in the workplace» contracts. These «love contracts» may seem a bit cumbersome to facilitate (or conclude), but they make a lot of sense from a legal point of view. As I concluded in my introductory paragraph here, and largely because of the #MeToo movement, companies are now rethinking what «HR» means to some employees and rethinking their workplace dating policies. Simply put, the climate has never had so many grey areas. In any event, Zoller concludes that signing a contract «shows that employees are aware of and agree to comply with the employer`s sexual harassment policies and rules regarding appropriate workplace behaviour. The love contract essentially recalls the consensual nature of the relationship and protects the employer from future harassment complaints in the event of the end of the romantic relationship. «The modern workplace has proven to be a very reliable matchmaker for years.
In fact, it is estimated that 22% of American couples have met at work. In addition, 35% of workers worldwide say they have had at least one relationship with a colleague in the past, 37% of men and 34% of women. And up to 84% of millennials are open to dating a colleague. When an employee is hired, the employer should provide information on how to access all harassment, labour relations and conflict of interest policies for the employee to review. In addition, she says, «a love contract can further strengthen the employer`s policies of discrimination, harassment and conflict of interest and can require employees to arbitrate all workplace disputes.» Workplace romances can be common given the amount of time people spend in the workplace. But as Neil Sedaka once said, it`s hard to break up. Complaints of sexual harassment and retaliation can occur after the end of a consensual relationship or anger. Employers need to be prepared for these issues in the workplace. Love contracts are not appropriate in all circumstances and should only be used in appropriate situations. A company interested in developing a love contract should consult a lawyer. Each policy should apply and be applied consistently among employees, regardless of marital status, gender and sexual orientation, and other categories protected by law.
Mark Kluger is a founding partner of the labor law firm Kluger Healey LLC in Fairfield, New Jersey. While Kluger has been working with clients on sexual harassment issues for many years, he has recently focused on the topic of consensual relationship contracts. He wasn`t a fan at first and remembered that he rejected the idea of relationship contracts as an ineffective tool. But recent interactions with customers have changed his perspective, he says. «When I had a client who gave me a convincing pitch to try to use and it worked a few years ago, I changed my tune. I am now a believer. When the couple signs a love contract, the employer has peace of mind that the employees in the relationship understand the company`s policies and that when the relationship ends, the employees can end it without fear that the departure will affect their career or work environment. Some have asked employees to sign consensual relationship contracts (or «love contracts»). Others take a non-interventionist approach. But in this environment, where media reports appear almost daily with new allegations of inappropriate behavior, employers who previously looked away are now beginning to realize this, and some are changing their minds about the role they should play in monitoring the potential impact of office romances. It`s all well and good to assume that it will solve potential problems at work if employees sign a love contract, but it`s not that easy.
While love can be in the air, as well as what we constantly need, companies need to protect themselves and their employees better than ever. Oh, really? The courts in New Hampshire have not ruled on the applicability of a love contract. However, the value of the document lies in the thanks of the employees. The love contract is strong evidence that the relationship was consensual, that employees were aware of the company`s policies on sexual harassment and retaliation and agreed to report any harassment or retaliation at the end of the relationship, and that the company had taken steps to maintain a workplace free of sexual harassment and retaliation. Just because employees have signed a love contract doesn`t mean the company or employees are fully protected from litigation. There are many other factors that may come into play, para. B example if one of the employees claimed to have been forced to sign the contract. When presenting such a contract, it is important to meet each party separately. Both people must sign the love contract and commit to it. Depending on the circumstances, some of the following provisions may be appropriate. While a contract provides employers with a management tool, employees may be annoyed by the idea of such contracts and view the process as a violation of privacy. Remember that you are not giving up your harassment rights or providing concrete evidence that just because you have been in a relationship, you have not been sexually harassed, the love contract is documentation that shows that your company has fulfilled its duty of care to recognize your relationship and how it may affect the workplace, where applicable.
Janet in Human Resources learns that two supervisors are in a consensual romantic relationship. .