Dating contracts in the work place
As Amy Stephson reports, the typical scenario involves a higher-up leader who is having a romantic relationship with the subordinate.[ii] Although the relationship is consensual, and they are in love, when it ends, it ends badly.
If the subordinate is the jilted party (or if the break-up was mutual, but ugly), the subordinate sexual harassment charge could look something like this: It was not really consensual.
The supervisor also could experience a hostile work environment or a retaliation if the subordinate starts spreading rumors about the superior, engages in negative behaviors, etc.
And 12 percent don’t allow any employees to pair up.
Most require that relationships between supervisors and direct reports be disclosed to HR.
This allows the employer to transfer one of the parties to another department if possible, lessening the likelihood of charges of favoritism or special treatment.
Once notified, about 5 percent of organizations ask those in a romantic relationship to sign a “love contract,” which indicates that the relationship is consensual, that the pair won’t engage in favoritism and that neither will take legal action against the employer or each other if the relationship ends.
But this is not a popular option, according to SHRM, which reported that three-fourths of HR professionals consider these contracts ineffective and damaging to company culture.
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Often, an employee will argue that he/she was an unwilling participant in a relationship that merely appeared to be consensual.