Ask HR: Do I really need to tell my company that I’m dating someone in my office?

Looking for an easy way to keep up on the latest business and HR best practices? Join our growing community of business leaders and get new posts sent directly to your inbox. Workplace romances tend to be the stuff of legend — either because a department or entire company got dragged into the drama, or the couple lives happily ever after. Rarely is there a middle ground. For that reason, many companies discourage interoffice dating. But love, or like, sometimes happens anyway. Lest you feel hard-hearted for discouraging workplace lovebirds, consider the turmoil and drop in productivity that can be caused by gossip, poor morale, and accusations of favoritism or sexual harassment charges. Should your company do the same?

Relationships at Work

Let’s face it, workplace dating and relationships happen all the time. If you think about how much time we spend at work with our co-workers, it’s not all that surprising. Of those who had never been in a workplace relationship before, 20 percent had chosen to abstain because they were apprehensive about the potential for sexual harassment claims.

These policies are in place to prevent an employee from being pressured into a relationship. If your company does have a policy in place, they could require that​.

For many, the workplace is a prime opportunity to meet someone you may eventually have a romantic interest in. However, employers may have another opinion on the matter. Many employers see the idea of employees dating one another as potentially threatening productivity or even opening up too much liability for the employer. But can they prohibit it? The employers may fear:. So, can an employer do something about these concerns?

Is it legal to fully prohibit employees from dating one another? Legally speaking, in most states an employer can enact a policy that prohibits employees from dating one another. Check your state and local laws for exceptions, which do exist and are usually centered on employee privacy or limitations for employers on prohibiting nonwork activities. However, even if legal, banning any work romantic involvement can come with its own consequences. Many people meet at work before beginning a romantic relationship.

Prohibiting it could decrease morale and could even result in losing employees who wish to date coworkers but cannot. In practical terms, it can be incredibly difficult to enforce, too.

Workplace Romance is a Recipe for Disaster

Question marks over whether consensual workplace relationships are ever OK have come to the fore this week after the high-profile firing of McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook. Experts say there are no hard and fast rules, however, when it comes to policy and policing of romantic relationships within organizations. The firing of Easterbrook, announced Sunday , has served as a timely reminder to workers of the pitfalls of workplace relationships — however consensual they may be — and it’s no surprise that most people prefer discretion when it comes to romance in the workplace.

A study on work romances in the U. Easterbrook was widely credited with turning the company’s fortunes around since taking over the leadership in

Distribute written policies about your expectations concerning workplace conduct​. For example, employers can expect employees to maintain a.

If you own a company, chances are you’ve had to decide and at times reassess whether to allow consensual dating and romantic relationships among your employees — or, in legalese, whether and to what extent to adopt an office “non-fraternization” policy. Although there are no laws which outright prohibit interoffice relationships, as shown in the news of late, they carry obvious risks , such as:. Lastly, when romantic relationships fail and let’s not kid ourselves — they usually do , there is the possibility one or both participants may view the once blissful and consensual detente through a lens of revisionist history — fertile ground for headline-grabbing and costly sex harassment litigation.

On the other hand, many view workplace relationships as an inevitable byproduct of today’s interconnected world. This trend may continue to gain steam. For example, polling suggests millennials are much more open to office romance than their older counterparts. Given these competing concerns, how can you craft employment policies which protect both your employees and your business? Again, there are no laws which prohibit employee dating per se.

Of course, as with any personnel policy or practice, decisions around employee dating will be subject to general anti-discrimination scrutiny. This means employers can face discrimination liability if, for example, it is shown they permitted dating among employees who are under 40 but not among employees over 40, among straight employees but not gay employees and the like.

Beyond these risks, the primary concern around workplace dating is that, one day, a participant in the relationship scorned or otherwise later claims the relationship was in fact a form of sex harassment. 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.

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. With this legal backdrop in mind, here are a few tips for crafting non-fraternization policies:.

Mauldin adds employee dating policy less than a year after police department sex scandal

Should you date a coworker? If you still want to move forward, research shows that your intentions matter. Many companies prohibit employees from dating coworkers, vendors, customers, or suppliers, or require specific disclosures, so be sure to investigate before you start a relationship.

Does an employer have the right to interfere in employees’ social if there is a workplace dating policy in place and an employee lies or.

A lot of romantic relationships start in the workplace. In an at-will state, employees can be fired at any time for any reason. However, when a subordinate is in a relationship with their direct supervisor, they are unlikely to get fired unless they are dishonest about it when questioned. Typically the person in charge is more likely to be disciplined or fired. You may even find that you want to learn more about one particular coworker.

You may find that you share the same interests or just enjoy being around each other. But what if these new romantic feelings are for not just any coworker, but a boss? That can be a little trickier. Dating your boss could lead to resentment and jealousy among coworkers. It could also be perceived that your boss is manipulating you. So how do you date your boss?

Consensual Relationships

The policy violations came to light when she asked to transfer after their romance fizzled, and the employer gave them the same choices between discipline and separation agreements D. Idaho, July , Her claims of emotional distress also failed. In another case, an employee who ended a year affair with her supervisor and quit after she found out he was already married, sued the employer for sexual office Kane v Honeywell Hommed, LLC , D.

July , Dispensing with her claims on summary number, the court noted that the facts surrounding the office, including her efforts to maintain it, indicated the sexual conduct was not unwelcome.

It’s a wise idea for organisations to have a written employee dating policy. Policies are developed to guide employees in creating a legal, ethical and harmonious.

This acknowledgment and waiver about employee dating template has 2 pages and is a MS Word file type listed under our human resources documents. Document description. Related documents. Policy on Privacy and Employee Monitoring. Restrictive Covenants for Employment Agreements. Post-Employment Reference Policy. Employee Proprietary Rights Acknowledgment. Acknowledgment of Customer Praise of Employee.

Acknowledgment Of Obligations Contract. Acknowledgment of Application Job Position Filled. Sorry About the Mistake in Invoice. Waiver of Notice of Meeting of Directors. Waiver of Notice Meeting of Incorporators.

Policies About Workplace Dating

Add or delete parts to communicate applicable rules regarding romantic relationships in the workplace and preserve harmony and fairness among all employees. We also set some standards for acceptable behavior when flirting with colleagues. This policy applies to all our employees regardless of gender, sexual orientation or other protected characteristics. We explicitly prohibit non-consensual relationships.

My company has a policy which requires employees to report to the company if they’re dating co-workers. I recently began dating someone in another.

Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way e. Although this policy does not prevent the development of friendships or romantic relationships between co-workers, it does establish boundaries as to how relationships are conducted during working hours and within the working environment.

Individuals in supervisory or managerial roles and those with authority over others’ terms and conditions of employment are subject to more stringent requirements under this policy due to their status as role models, their access to sensitive information, and their ability to affect the employment of individuals in subordinate positions. This policy does not preclude or interfere with the rights of employees protected by the National Labor Relations Act or any other applicable statute concerning the employment relationship.

You may be trying to access this site from a secured browser on the server. Please enable scripts and reload this page. Policies Employee Dating Policy. Reuse Permissions. Download: Employee Dating Policy. Objective [Company Name] strongly believes that a work environment where employees maintain clear boundaries between employee personal and business interactions is necessary for effective business operations.

Dating employee policy

However, the office romantic relationship can be a troublesome weed that employers need to uproot instead of a beautiful flower. Such relationships can be a distraction, leading to gossip, discord among employees, or interoffice jealousies. Employers have taken different approaches to addressing dating and relationships in the workplace. Some enact policies prohibiting some relationships, whiles others tend to ignore them.

In some cases, employers implement outright bans on coworker dating. Such policies, while advisable in some cases, can be unpopular among employees.

You don’t have to pick them up and they’re always tax-deductible. This may be hindered by a major breakup between employees. However, preventing your employees from dating could cause unwanted resentment. So what do you do? First consider the Pros and Cons of allowing dating in the workplace. Here are just a few. These are characteristics that help determine whether or not a pair matches. Thus, relationships among co-workers have the chance of lasting because they have already skipped the awkward introductions and see that there is a possibility to have a lasting relationship the reason that they have decided to pursue a relationship.

That is because some employees, despite established policies against dating co-workers, will try to date anyway.

City considering romance policy aimed at supervisors dating subordinates