Can You Really Make Your Staff Sign A Love Contract?
Love contracts have been commonplace in the US for quite some time. You’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s all about dedicating your life to your
partner, but it’s actually something quite different. And it’s very much a workplace issue…
A love contract is a document that two employees sign to confirm that they have not been coerced into a relationship. Worryingly, it’s used as a way to prevent sexual harassment claims being made further down the line. Generally speaking, it’s a policy that would appear in the staff handbook, and it would encourage workers to be discrete about their relationship. In many cases, it would also rule against a manager dating someone in their direct reporting line.
But is all of this actually any of your business?
And is a love contract something that you should think about bringing into force in your organization?
With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, it’s something that’s worth considering.
First of all, it’s clear that you can’t make rules about falling in love. Your staff no doubt spend a big chunk of their time in the workplace, so it’s natural that strong bonds will be formed, and these can sometimes turn into something more. It’s totally acceptable to expect your staff to be discrete when this happens. After all, no one wants to see their colleagues kissing over the copy machine.
Taking away people’s right to work in an environment that’s free from harassment though is dangerous ground. It’s legally questionable, and it’s also a serious ethical issue. The bottom line here is that you should be alert, and mindful of the issues that can arise. If workplace romances are going on, then it makes sense that you carefully manage the situation and ensure that it doesn’t turn into an HR disaster. You may even want to include a marriage and dating policy in your staff handbook, so you’re prepared should the situation arise.
A love contract though is quite possibly a step too far…
Please contact us today. If we’re not able to fulfill all your HR needs, we’ll direct you to HR professionals who can.