Workplace Dating: How a Sexual Harassment Policy Can Mitigate Risks

This article was originally published on February 21, If your eyebrows are raised, good. We dated for four years, and we managed to outlast our involvement at the company, but ultimately it was one big, longwinded learning experience. As I mentioned, my parents met at work. Is this person really worth giving up this aspect of your career, should things fly south? Think hard. When my ex and I started dating, it was a very strange circumstance. Not only were we working at the same startup, but our CEO was the one who pushed us together. I remember my first day on the job, the CEO asked me to join her for dinner.

5 Rules to Dating in the Workplace

You don’t have to pick them up and they’re always tax-deductible. This may be hindered by a major breakup between employees. However, preventing your employees from dating could cause unwanted resentment. So what do you do? First consider the Pros and Cons of allowing dating in the workplace. Here are just a few.

Crushes, attraction, romance, work spouses, and everything in between – Valentine’s Day is a good day to assess the state of workplace.

Years ago, I had a summer job on a small cruise ship. One day, one of my male coworkers hit on me in a semi-respectful manner. I didn’t feel threatened; I just felt like he was interested and expressed that. I politely declined , citing the fact that we worked together. The next day, the company’s “HR department” which consisted of our male boss’s wife, who was a lawyer came and talked to both me and him–separately.

I doubt our boss requested she do so. Instead, I believe that behind closed doors, he mentioned overseeing this exchange to his wife, and she said, “Do not mess around with this. A sexual harassment suit could sink our company. The fact is, dating at work is a risk. It’s an emotional risk to you, and it’s also a risk to the company. Yet it happens all the time. There’s no way for human beings to work around one another and attraction to not happen.

Does Your Company Need an Employee Dating Policy?

Workplace relationships are unique interpersonal relationships with important implications for the individuals in those relationships, and the organizations in which the relationships exist and develop. Workplace relationships directly affect a worker’s ability and drive to succeed. These connections are multifaceted, can exist in and out of the organization, and be both positive and negative. One such detriment lies in the nonexistence of workplace relationships, which can lead to feelings of loneliness and social isolation.

While XYZ Company encourages a collegial and supportive atmosphere at work for its employees, interpersonal relationships between employees may become a​.

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. There are also potential conflicts of interest. There are also reputational risks. So, before you jump in, check your motives and consider how others will perceive them. Having positive intentions at the start may also help guard against hurt feelings and misunderstandings should the romance eventually end.

Dating at work is a bad idea—just ask the fired CEO of McDonald’s

Maybe I’m just a sucker for romance, but there’s nothing more thrill-inducing than developing a new crush. Of course, that thrill can either be heightened or dampened by your crush happening to be one of your coworkers. Sure, a “work wife” or “work husband” is fine. But what about actual romantic feelings in the workplace? Like for real? Even if there’s flirty energy via Slack or tenderness in your latte runs, you’ve probably told yourself, “Nope, not gonna pull on that thread.

“Workplace dating: 44% of Office Romances lead to Marriage,”. 10 February 4 American.

Johnny C. Taylor Jr. The questions are submitted by readers, and Taylor’s answers below have been edited for length and clarity. Have a question? Submit it here. Taylor, Jr. So, it should be no surprise that romantic relationships can blossom in the office. One out of every three U. In this MeToo era, employers could enforce strict policies forbidding workplace relationships, but experience tells us office romance would still happen. Workplace diversity: How can I help my company create a more inclusive environment?

Inclement weather policy: Can you ask your employer to let you work from home during a winter storm? What should I do? What is important is disclosure.

Relationships at Work

Having a healthy employee dating policy in place to provide a framework for acceptable behavior and to protect the company and its workforce against problems is vital, and this policy should form part of your company culture and be understood by everyone on your team. While most companies might prefer that their employees don’t date each other in order to avoid problems in the workplace and the potential risk of things turning nasty if the relationship breaks down, blanket bans on dating colleagues rarely serve any meaningful purpose other than to encourage couples to keep things under the radar if they do find love in the office.

However, having an employee fraternization policy in place within your company or organization can help to provide clarity, guidance, and boundaries for interoffice dating among colleagues, plus it can ensure that relationships don’t have a negative impact on the participants themselves, their other colleagues, or the company as a whole.

Our survey also uncovered that 5 percent of employees are dating their manager at work. Though HR works to mitigate workplace risk.

Let’s face it, workplace dating and relationships happen all the time. If you think about how much time we spend at work with our co-workers, it’s not all that surprising. Of those who had never been in a workplace relationship before, 20 percent had chosen to abstain because they were apprehensive about the potential for sexual harassment claims.

Interestingly, only two percent of all the employees polled by SHRM admitted to currently being involved with a colleague, possibly because they feared being discovered by others. With increased awareness of inappropriate behavior and more cases of sexual harassment made the news each week, these office romances seem to be slowing down some due to worries over being misinterpreted. To many, the rejected advances of a co-worker can go dangerously wrong, leading to claims of sexual harassment, stalking, and even violence.

Or, if a workplace relationship is even tolerated at all. All employees should be trained at least once a year on sexual harassment to ensure all understand how serious this matter is, and the potential risks they could face if they choose to participate in an office romance.

Can I Date That Co-Worker? What To Consider Before An Office Romance

Join InHerSight’s growing community of professional women and get matched to great jobs and more! Already have an account? As many as 27 percent of single Americans say they have met potential dates at the office, and some 15 percent report meeting their current spouse or partner at work, according to research by ReportLinker. Love in the workplace can be tricky to navigate successfully.

So, is dating a coworker ever a good idea?

Given the potential of workplace dating to erode the bottom line, a growing number of employers are developing and enforcing fraternization.

Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way e. Although this policy does not prevent the development of friendships or romantic relationships between co-workers, it does establish boundaries as to how relationships are conducted during working hours and within the working environment. Individuals in supervisory or managerial roles and those with authority over others’ terms and conditions of employment are subject to more stringent requirements under this policy due to their status as role models, their access to sensitive information, and their ability to affect the employment of individuals in subordinate positions.

This policy does not preclude or interfere with the rights of employees protected by the National Labor Relations Act or any other applicable statute concerning the employment relationship. You may be trying to access this site from a secured browser on the server. Please enable scripts and reload this page.

Policies Employee Dating Policy. Reuse Permissions. Download: Employee Dating Policy. Objective [Company Name] strongly believes that a work environment where employees maintain clear boundaries between employee personal and business interactions is necessary for effective business operations. Procedures During working time and in working areas, employees are expected to conduct themselves in an appropriate workplace manner that does not interfere with others or with overall productivity.

Love in the Workplace: Is Dating a Coworker Ever a Good Idea?

Proceed with caution if you find yourself drawn into an inner-office love affair. For some, the promise of a relationship with someone who shares similar values on a comparable career path is enticing, making the office into not just a place of business, but also the home of a budding romance. If you think a collegial relationship you have might be morphing into a more amorous one, consider the ethical implications of letting this happen.

When two daters occupy the same work space, the ramifications for their love affair failing are substantially more significant. This can lead to nasty office confrontations or office gossip as coworkers take sides in the romance-fueled feud between the two. Inner-office romances can also lead to questions regarding whether promotions were appropriate or rewards were deserved.

Some of us work long hours at work, and this leaves little time for us to go out into the dating scene. In the office, you are dealing with people consistently among.

Companies are, correctly, reviewing their codes of conduct and policies against sexual harassment and adding consensual relationships to anti-harassment policies. Recent surveys demonstrate that more than one-half the workforce has engaged in workplace romance. At the beginning of this year, Forbes Magazine reported that 58 percent of employees have engaged in a romantic relationship with colleagues. A surprising 72 percent of those over 50 years old have been romantically involved with a coworker.

Last year, hundreds of Google employees walked out in protest over how Google executives handled sexual harassment claims, chronicling their stories on social media and garnering international headlines and media attention. In addition to tarnishing the corporate brand and violating articulated corporate values, workplace romances, especially between an executive and a subordinate, can lead to a sexual harassment complaint at any point, even if at one point the relationship was consensual.

For example, what may have begun as consensual between a supervisor and a subordinate, can easily move into a quid pro quo situation where promises of benefits or threats of harm are offered in exchange for favors, dates or the condition that the relationship continue. If the relationship between the superior and the employee ends or creates a hostile environment for others, or an environment where the subordinate involved in the relationship receives preferential treatment and assignment, then it may form yet another basis upon which a sexual harassment suit can be filed.

Ask Steve – Should I Date My Co-Worker?