The Case for Allowing Office Dating
Only 5% of companies have policies that prohibit office dating altogether. Some employers are wary of the potential of lawsuits, as there have been lawsuits brought to employers against prohibiting office dating, citing that the policy interferes with personal life. In addition, many companies feel that if handled correctly, office dating poses no risk and no threat to the company.
Should You Have a Policy Preventing Dating Coworkers?
Most companies opt for a happy medium between allowing dating and prohibiting dating within the office, and this seems to work well. Establishing guidelines on office dating and then enforcing them is a good way to ensure everyone remains happy and productive. If you are considering putting a policy into place concerning dating coworkers, the following points are things that should be taken into consideration:
- Public Displays of Affection. You would be wise to prohibit PDAs in the workplace, period. Not only is it in poor taste to kiss, rub backs, and sit on your partner's lap in an office setting, but it's distracting in the workplace as well.
- Dating Supervisors. As far as total prohibition goes, it would probably be a good idea to have a rule that doesn't allow supervisors to date their immediate employees - there is too much potential for things to go wrong, and other employees will pick up on it and be more apt to accuse the supervisor of favoritism. In general, it's best to just avoid it.
- Make sure your sexual harassment policies are clearly defined. It's not harassment to ask someone on a date, but it can become so if repeated advances are made against uninterested parties.
- Put it in writing. Once you have established your policies on dating coworkers, put it in writing and have each employee sign it. It's not a bad idea to have a seminar on the do's and don'ts of office dating as well. Make sure there are clearly defined boundaries and consequences, and hold employees to them.
Office dating doesn't have to be taboo. By giving your employees a well-defined set of guidelines and expectations with regards to dating coworkers, you will allow them the freedom to date as they please while remaining professional and productive at the same time.
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