1. Require Disclosure
Even if you are opting for a more relaxed dating policy within your organization, require that the two involved employees disclose their relationship. Have the involved parties sign a contract that states their relationship is mutually consensual, they are both free to end the relationship at any point in time without an impact on work, that they will not let the relationship effect their performance, and that they understand the company’s sexual harassment policy.
2. Appropriate Conduct
If you are going to have a dating policy that allows employees to engage in a romantic relationship, it is essential to communicate what behaviors are appropriate for their interactions at the workplace during work hours.
Be sure to include behavior expectations and prohibit interactions such as inappropriate physical contact during work hours.
3. Prohibit Relationships between Employee and Managers
Avoid the potential risk of sexual harassment litigation by either prohibiting supervisors or managers from dating their direct reports or implement a policy in which when a relationship blossoms, the direct report switches to a different supervisor.
You may also want to prohibit inter-department dating to avoid conflict.
4. Outline Behavior Expectations Outside of the Office
No, you don’t have the right to tell two of your employees who are in a relationship that they can’t express PDA (public displays of affection) outside of work hours. However, you can communicate with the two parties the expectations of discussing confidential company information with one another during pillow talk.
Be sure to clarify that the sharing of confidential information will result in consequences.
When dealing with office romances, it is important to clearly communicate the expectations of the employees from the very start. Notify them that any violations of the dating policy and/or “love contract” that they signed with the company will be taken seriously.
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