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Workplace dating agreements
One-third ended in at least one person’s separation from the company.Cafe Marie-Jeanne in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood is fortunate, co-owner Mike Simmons said.Married couple Valerie Szafranski and Mike Simmons, owners of Cafe Marie-Jeanne in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood, haven't experienced any employee relationships that have gone wrong, but try to make awareness a part of their workplace policy. Dating colleagues has always been laced with the forbidden, be it by company policy or social taboo.
If the relationship sours, allegations of retaliation or harassment could be made.
Even if the relationship goes well, other employees may say the supervisor is showing favoritism.
“You have to be able to trust each other in any workplace.” Last year, Anderson Cohen launched a technology company with her husband called Sweat Working. With only five full-time employees, the company doesn’t have a set policy on dating co-workers, Anderson Cohen said, but the discussion stemming from the #Me Too movement has her brainstorming.
If co-workers are in a relationship, disclosing it can help the employer take care of anything improper before it happens, such as a romance where power dynamics are at play, she said.
Also such a strict policy is bad for employee morale as it makes the employer seem overbearing.
Subordinates and managers Office romances are also problematic when an employee in a position of power dates a subordinate.Employers should consider a policy against such relationships, or one that requires employees to disclose these relationships and sign agreements for solutions for if the relationship becomes problematic (i.e. Love contracts A consensual relationship agreement, sometimes called a love contract, is a written document signed by two employees in a consensual relationship acknowledging the relationship is voluntary.These disclosures usually contain a reminder of the company's harassment, discrimination, and retaliation policies, as well as a clear acknowledgment that the relationship is consensual.It helps that workers know where they stand, and they can learn about where the employees stand, Simmons said.“We also feel like it’s a way to counter, just in our little corner of the city and of the business, this type of toxic behavior that’s starting to come to light,” he said.“(It used to be) laissez-faire, people can date who they want to date, but I think companies are realizing to create a safe environment for the employees, there needs to be some policing.” It’s a delicate balance to strike, though, and banning relationships isn’t always the answer, Challenger said.When co-workers spend more waking hours at the office than at home, romances are bound to blossom. Of the 150 human resource executives Challenger, Gray & Christmas surveyed in January, more than 60 percent said they’ve had to deal with a failed or inappropriate relationship at work.The #Me Too revelations caused nearly 35 percent of respondents to the Challenger survey to review their sexual harassment policies.Besides the increasing inquiries regarding love contracts – also called consensual romance in the workplace agreements – Sharon Sellers, president of South Carolina-based consulting firm SLS Consulting, said she has considered ways to alter her training to focus more on dignity and respect in the workplace.A recent poll shows that over 40% of Americans have dated a coworker, making the topic of inter-office romance pretty hard to ignore.While you may be glad that your staff is finding happiness, there are several serious issues that can be brought up when employees start dating and employers should be sure to protect themselves.