Don’t think employees are dating? Think again. According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 39% of respondents said they’d dated a co-worker at least once during their careers, and 17% reported dating a co-worker at least twice. Thirty percent of those who’d dated a co-worker married them.
Most relationships happen between co-workers, but some do occur between managers and subordinates, which can be especially risky. This Valentine’s Day, how do you ensure your company is protected from office romance gone wrong? Start by following these tips:
Deal with the situation.
When employees are in a relationship, it’s awkward for everyone not involved, especially at first. But that doesn’t mean you can just ignore the situation if you find out about it, particularly when it involves a manager. If a sexual harassment lawsuit ever takes place, you could be accused of “willful ignorance.” So make sure you meet with both parties, talk about the impact of their relationship on the workplace, and ensure compliance with all sexual harassment policies and laws.
Have a written policy about romantic relationships between employees.
As one of the top Tempe staffing agencies, PrideStaff knows a policy won’t stop romance at work, but it’s still helpful to have one to instill clear boundaries for all involved. Before crafting yours, it’s important to think about what best fits your culture. Your policy should also outline acceptable and unacceptable behavior in the workplace (such as no public displays of affection) and whether employees are required to disclose of their relationships to management.
Have the couple sign a written disclosure.
Often known as the “Love Contract” approach, a signed disclosure will confirm that the relationship is a consensual one and offers an additional notice of understanding of your company’s sexual harassment policy. Your employees should be encouraged to talk to a lawyer before signing.
If you’re like most managers, you likely view office romance as a source of potential headaches. The good news? There can actually be an upside to employees in a relationship. In fact, some studies suggest that married co-workers are a source of social support to each other and can serve as a buffer for stress.
Need help hiring for your team? Call PrideStaff. As one of the top Tempe staffing agencies, our specialists can give you access to the skilled and dependable people you need, where and when you need them. To learn more, contact us today.