Knowledge Center / Blog
Workplace Relationships: The Love Contract
Many organizations either prohibit or frown upon intimate relationships in the workplace to mitigate the risks often associated with them – office gossip (thus less productivity), strained professional relationships, accusations of nepotism, and possible sexual harassment or discrimination claims. However, all of the policies in the world may not deter two individuals from developing a personal, intimate relationship built on consent.
If your organization accepts that these mutually-consensual, voluntary, personal relationships between two employees will occur, your organization can put policies and practices in place to protect itself and its employees from the risks associated with office romance. Besides clear, instructive policies about these relationships – including instructions on how to report the relationship – some organizations utilize a Consensual Relationship Acknowledgement or “Love Contract” to clarify expectations about behavior, communication, and the rights of the employer to address the relationship in the future.
“Love Contracts”, signed by both parties and a representative of upper management, should include the following expectations:
- Consent to the relationship
- No interference to work because of the relationship
- No inappropriate “benefits” – compensation, promotions, perquisites, etc.
- No distraction to others
- Professional behavior
- Understanding of and adherence to sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation policies
- Communication of change in the relationship (no longer consensual, voluntary or termination of relationship)
Because these situations are personal, “Love Contracts” should fit the relationship and its impact on the organization. A “Love Contract” many not be appropriate for your organization or the relationship, so our clients work with our HR professionals to determine the best method to address personal relationships. If you want to learn more about how The Employer Group helps its clients with policy development, please contact us!