HR Tip of The Week: Workplace Romance- What’s your Policy?
Does your company have a policy on workplace romance? Romantic relationships, particularly those between leadership/managers and their subordinates raise concerns about potential power imbalances and conflicts of interest in the workplace. An anti-fraternization policy sends a message against sexual harassment, mitigates legal risk, avoids subsequent toxic work environments, and provides a notice of consequences for employees’ actions. However, it may not be in your best interest to forbid any and all types of workplace romance, as research shows romantic relationships are quite common in the workplace and employees may resort to hiding their relationships. A workable policy approach might be:
1. Outline the company’s concerns with respect to workplace relationships
2. Require employees to report close personal relationships through designated channels.
3. Prohibit romantic relationships between supervisors and their direct (or proximate) subordinates, as well as between sensitive business functions dealing with quality or financial controls.
4. Access additional resources to assist in developing a workplace relationship policy for your organization.