Office romance policies
Something that you might find surprising is that not every employer has an office romance policy, although most have a sexual harassment policy in effect. When it comes to workplace romance, most people tend to frown on people who are having the office romance to further their career or who are simply having an extramarital affair. If people are serious about dating and building a relationship that can go, further most co-workers approve that type of office romance.
With how many problems office romances can cause it is important for your business to have a policy in effect that covers work place romances. Here are some things to do to help address office romances in your business so that they do not cause problems.
You will want to provide your managers and other supervisors with training on workplace romances. You will want to provide training that teaches your managers and supervisors how to discreetly address sexual behavior in the workplace, plus how to deal with the dating couple if it begins to affect their work performance or their co-workers work performance. Another aspect that they need to be trained on is how to deal with the gossip that is going to ensue with the romance, and how to deal with things if the romance does not work out.
You will want to have a formal sexual harassment policy for your employees. The written policy should be posted where all employees can easily access it, it should be included in the employee handbook, and it should be listed on all of your business's policy documents. You will want to provide training for your employees on things that are considered sexual harassment, which asking people out on a date is not considered sexual harassment. You also want to openly discuss the consequences of their behavior and the fact that your business has a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment.
You are going to want to come up with a policy that directly addresses any dating or relationships in the office. You want to think about if there are any specific, situations that you want to specifically prohibit from happening. The one thing that you want to avoid when developing this policy is a blanket policy that prohibits dating, sex, and romance, in general. If you prohibit everything with your policy, more people are going to abuse the policy than follow it, and you will be guaranteed that everything that happens between co-workers is done secretly.
When developing your policy on office romances you want to include in the policy a rule that prevents a supervisor or manager from dating any employee who reports directly to them. Dating a co-worker who reports to you can cause problems because other employees might accuse the manager or supervisor of playing favorites. Something else that you will want to include in your romance policy is that you expect all staff members to behave professionally; regardless of if, they are no longer dating. Many times problems arise when an office romance has gone bad, so by addressing it in your policy your employees will know and understand the consequences of their behavior if something does go wrong.
One rule that many businesses forget to include in their romance policy is sexual liaisons and sexual behavior at work. Most companies overlook these things because they feel that nobody will cross those lines in the workplace, but it can happen. You want to specifically state that your business will not tolerate any sexual liaisons or sexual behavior in the workplace. You also need to include the consequences for the employees' actions if they cross that line.
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Posted by DK