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This route may be effective in smaller companies with a limited number of employees, but the employer should still weigh the potential risk of not providing definite expectations versus the ability to police and enforce a policy.The “love contract” option is a way to allow relationships with disclosure.In a better scenario, coworkers would find it easier to claim that an employee received preferential treatment from a supervisor he or she is dating.In a poorer scenario, the relationship would end badly, one of the employees could claim that the relationship was non-consensual, or that sexual harassment existed.This is a signed document that confirms a consensual relationship and provides notice of understanding of sexual harassment policies and procedures.The contract can also outline expectations regarding behaviors, including a ban on displays of affection in the workplace.As long as employees interact with each other during the workday, there is always a chance that romantic relationships may develop.This issue presents an interesting balancing act between respecting the privacy of employees and protecting an employer from legal liability.
There are several options an employer should consider: One option is to rely on a workplace harassment policy, or related policies.But consider this: according to a recent Workplace Options survey, nearly 85% of 18-29 year olds would have a romantic relationship with a co-worker, compared to just over 35% for 30-46 year olds and about 30% of 47-66 year olds.Even more shocking is that 40% of those 18-29 year olds would date their supervisors.Essentially, any relationship between two people that could have a negative effect on the company if things sour, or if one party is able to improperly influence the other would fall under the policy.One last generally acceptable rule: If you have a "C" (think CEO, CFO, COO) or VP in your title, you should always think twice about dating anyone in the workplace, even if he or she is not a direct report or within your chain of command.
The reason: an internal inquiry into his relationship with a 26-year-old female employee. As companies grow and add employees, you will often see signs of budding workplace relationships.