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.
Dating in the workplace – Your rights
There is no single law protecting the rights of employees while they are off work. Instead, other areas of the law, such as discrimination, drug testing, and harassment laws, protect an employee’s off-duty conduct. Therefore, each different off-duty conduct issue must be looked at carefully. This page provides answers to many common questions about off-duty conduct, but for issues with off-duty conduct it is always advisable to have a local attorney look at your case.
In short, there’s a reason that many large companies explicitly state in their employee handbooks that supervisors can’t date the employees.
In each of these articles, Kim will walk you through a real-life HR scenario, using her expert knowledge and years of experience to break down the pros and cons of various ways this situation could be handled, which option is likely best for you and your business, and all the ins and outs of the rules and regulations that could impact the scenario and your decisions. In these situations, there is frequently a feeling among some of the staff that having a couple in such a small business setting is counterproductive.
Employers have several options when it comes to addressing workplace romances. Most employers realize that a ban on romantic relationships is difficult to enforce and just forces employees to keep their relationships secret. However, if an employer does decide to ban romantic relationships in the workplace, careful wording of the policy is critical. This approach is used by the majority of employers, is generally effective, and is considered a best practice in approaching workplace romances.
With this approach, there are things to include and remember in your policy and training in order to best mitigate risk and address potential concerns of relationships and dating in the workplace. Expectations should be clearly stated during regular, periodic sexual harassment trainings.
What You Need To Know About Dating In The Workplace
Therefore, the effects of workplace dating and affairs on a small business can often cause more harm than good. Protecting your business from harassment lawsuits and from opportunity costs requires forethought and careful action. Many starry-eyed workers leap into an office romance with no expectation that their relationship may turn sour.
Customize this workplace romance policy based on your company’s attitude toward office dating. Add or delete parts to communicate applicable rules about.
Office romances happen—sometimes out of nowhere. But dating a co-worker comes with risk. For instance, ones in which one person in the couple exerts career influence over the other. However, you and your potential partner should at least give it some serious thought before you forge forward into significant-other territory.
In other words, having a brief fling with someone you work with after a holiday office party is probably not worth the potential awkwardness it can cause later on. The first thing you need to do is get on the same page as your partner. Whether you are equal business partners, or one of you is on a leadership team that makes decisions that affects the other, or you work in the same department, it can get tricky to keep your personal and professional lives separate.
And if one person is in a higher position, there is always the question about how that power factors into any romantic relationships in the workplace. Large companies can usually help accommodate such situations, perhaps having one of you change departments. That means treating that person at work the same way you treat other people, and keeping the outside relationship outside of the four office walls. If you think about it, the same can be said about friendships you make at work. Although you might not be able to imagine it now, it can happen, and you should feel confident that both of you can move on without jeopardizing your career.
How to Approach an Office Romance (and How Not To)
I know romantic relationships with people who work under you are discouraged, however why are they discouraged? It is a very risky business.
Can an employer restrict workers from dating one another? Employees may date in secret in spite of the ban, so the company may face difficulties in enforcing.
What is a conflict of interest in the workplace? Explore its meaning through real examples and learn ways to address conflicting interests on the job. Conflict of interest in the workplace refers to when a staff member takes part in an activity or relationship that benefits them and not their employer. If an employee has a conflict of interest, it usually affects their decision-making at work, their ability to complete job duties, and their loyalty to their employer. If an employee is dating his or her supervisor and is receiving special treatment, this would be a romantic conflict of interest.
The special treatment is not because of professional qualifications, but because of personal interest.
Why office romances present legal risks for employers
Subscriber Account active since. Tyler and I had been dating for almost four years before we started working together which, by the way, wasn’t planned … long story for another time. But for about 11 months, we sat three cubes apart from one another and kept our relationship under wraps. Remember that coworker I dated?
Another example would be an employee dating a company client. Relational: When a business owner or manager hires a family member for.
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.
Before you decide to date a colleague, please consider any problems or conflicts of interest that may arise. If a colleague is persistent in flirting with you and becomes annoying or disturbs your work, ask them to stop and inform your manager [ if they continue ]. Please report them to HR if they make unwanted sexual advances. Sexual harassment is prohibited, including seemingly harmless actions. In this case, they will face disciplinary action. For more details on what constitutes sexual harassment and how to report it, please refer to o ur anti-harassment policy.
But if your relationship lasts longer than [ two months ], please inform HR. We want to be aware of these relationships so we can better handle gossip or conflicts of interest. We expect you to always behave appropriately and follow our Code of Conduct.
Code of Business Conduct and Ethics
We send out emails once a week with the latest from the Namely Blog, HR News, and other industry happenings. Expect to see that in your inbox soon! Things get particularly sticky when romantic relationships form between a manager and a direct report—which can have an impact on employee morale and put the company at compliance risk.
In performing their job duties, employees should always act lawfully, ethically, and in the best interests of This Code of Business.
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. Lots of people meet their partners at work , and yet dating someone in the office is often frowned upon. Some companies even have explicit policies against it.
So what if you and a colleague have been flirting and might want to explore a relationship? Should you steer clear? What the Experts Say There are perfectly good reasons why coworkers fall for one another , says Art Markman, a professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas at Austin. Research shows that we also tend to fall for people who are similar to ourselves, says Amy Nicole Baker, an associate professor of psychology at University of New Haven and author of several papers on workplace romance.
Here are some things to think about.