After playing out all of the disastrous break-up scenarios in your head, simply never responding or giving an explanation can seem like the easiest way out. Perhaps a change could be made in the reporting or organizational structure. No warning, no explanation, nothing. Encourage Transparency If two employees start dating, ask that they notify their managers. Employees are working longer hours and have less time to socialize outside of work.
The show may be highly fictionalized, but my neurosurgeon boyfriend pointed out there is some truth to those seemingly far-fetched storylines. Use the spark that already exists between you to excel in your work duties. Understand that your significant other will be much more attentive to you than to others. But not all workplace romances cause problems, and in many cases they actually improve productivity and morale. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly. The company should also have a policy regarding sexual harassment. Any employee who engages in such a relationship must accept responsibility for assuring that it does not result in a conflict of interest or raise other issues of professionalism.
This helps to protect the company from later charges that the relationship was not consensual and constituted sexual harassment. This can lead to nasty office confrontations or office gossip as coworkers take sides in the romance-fueled feud between the two. If a decision is not reached by the end of the thirty-day period, the department head, or next level of administrator, will resolve the situation. Observe your actions so as not to create drama that seeps from your job into your relationship. Employers have several options when it comes to addressing workplace romances. In fact, some high profile couples -— Bill and Melinda Gates, for example -— began their romances in the office. The case, which struck down a Texas law banning consensual homosexual relationships, has been interpreted as upholding the right of all consenting adults to engage in private sexual activity.
Option 3: Rely on policy and training to mitigate risk. More importantly, organizations are concerned about potentially embarrassing situations that come from romantically involved employees. Make sure all your employees are aware of these policies. Can an employee be fired for dating a coworker? Why Policies are Necessary In an era when sexual harassment is a real concern for organizations, the notion of two employees dating each other does have potential for some tricky policy questions. The contract may also include the employees' written confirmation that they have been informed of the company's dating policy and the behavior that is expected of them, such as refraining from any acts of retaliation if the relationship ends.
Personal problems between the couple can cause strain and difficulties with on-the-job communication, or lead to claims of stalking or harassment. This type of relationship is unacceptable because people lower on the business food chain might receive preferential treatment as a result of this romantic relationship or be perceived to receive this treatment from others aware of the relationship. Her work appears on eHow, Trails. Of course, if your company gives you and your co-workers the green light to explore relationships, just be sure you treat everyone with respect. Merely discussing the subject may dissuade them from dating subordinates in their chain of command, which is among the most worrisome of office romances. Inner-office romances can also lead to questions regarding whether promotions were appropriate or rewards were deserved. Romantic or sexual relationships between employees where one individual has influence or control over the other's conditions of employment are inappropriate.
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Consensual Relationship Agreements A growing number of companies are asking employees engaged in romances to sign consensual relationship agreements in which they acknowledge that the relationship is consensual and that the dating duo will not allow their soap opera to play out in the office should the love affair sour, reports Kathryn Tyler for the Society for Human Resources Management. Sexual harassment can destroy the cohesiveness of a team and lower employee morale. Having a formal process in place keeps staff safe from harassment and other potential hazards of dating in the workplace. These options may include reassignment of one of the employees to another department or position, lessening the likelihood of charges of favoritism or special treatment. This occurs most commonly with employees who are at different levels of the organization.
In any case, when employees are unsure about a potential conflict, they should fully disclose the circumstances in writing to their supervisor. And there are no workplace rules to stop it. No-Dating Policies No-dating policies generally ban dating between a supervisor and their subordinate. This, Bowden explains, means you likely have similar educational backgrounds and aptitudes. More than one-third of all employees meet their future partners while on the job, and for many, dating officemates is part of a balanced work life. If your workplace has an unofficial policy, you may want to keep a new relationship quiet to avoid not only causing drama, but also to prevent any lack of productivity at work.
Without a clear policy, an office relationship can lead to charges of sexual harassment and legal consequences for the employer. In fact, law professor Merrick Rossein of the City University of New York estimates that only about a quarter of all companies have such policies. Love Contracts This is a written confirmation to management that any relationship taking place between employees is consensual. Remember, this is a place where people go to do what they hopefully love, to make an impact on something they believe in, and to earn an income. Unfortunately, unlike large companies that have many facilities and departments, there are fewer options to transfer small-firm employees whose flowering or failing romance disrupts the workplace. These relationships must not jeopardize the effective functioning of the University by the appearance of either favoritism or unfairness in the exercise of professional judgment.