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Don’t be afraid to reach out to your risk management or legal folks to get started on drafting a workplace romance policy. There could be legal concerns if a situation occurs and you don’t have a workplace romance policy.
“Employers should consider both the legal implications associated with sexual harassment and retaliation claims under Title VII of the Civil Acts of 1964 and similar state and local laws, as well as the practical implications associated with favoritism stemming from consensual relationships in the workplace.”, writes Donald D. “At a minimum, a good fraternization policy prohibits romantic or sexual relationships between supervisors and direct subordinates.” Completely restricting workplace romances isn’t the direction to go, either.
Much like everything else it touches, the internet has changed the process of courtship forever.
With the introduction of dating apps like Tinder, OKCupid, and e Harmony, courtship took a turn for the strangest. “The rise of phone apps and online dating websites gives people access to more potential partners than they could meet.”, said Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Stanford who conducted a study of online dating. Ferdman for an interview with the Washington Post, “It also helps the people who use the apps by allowing them to enjoy a pattern of regular hookups that don’t have to lead to relationships.
The Society for Human Resource Management conducted a study on workplace romance readiness finding that 54% of companies don’t have a written or verbal policy on workplace romances.
For the companies that do have a policy, 99% say romance between a supervisor and a direct report is not permitted.
Folks are beginning to understand the value of real-life meetings and relationship building, which brings us to face-to-face serendipitous meetings – the office included.
“If you ask me where I’d like my only daughter to meet a guy, I’m not going to say at a bar or online.”, writes Liz Ryan, leader of the Human Workplace movement to reinvent work for people.
Sexual harassment is no joke and would require your HR and other leaders to intervene.
This ignores the truth that whether or not workplace romances are allowed, they are going to happen.
The stronger the consequences, the more likely your staff will hide their relationships.
Without explicit arrangements before a relationship disaster, your company could be brought into a sexual harassment nightmare.
Popular culture took notice of sexual harassment in 1990’s with the Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas hearings.