Happy Valentine’s Day! Please Sign This Love Contract Before You Go To Lunch…

It’s Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air … and the office. And more often than not, that is NOT a good thing for everyone involved. So what can employers do to minimize the potentially disruptive effects of colleagues and coworkers canoodling? Here’s a good start:

1. Distribute – and enforce – policies that discourage inappropriate behavior:

“First and foremost, employers should have a sexual harassment policy that includes a complaint reporting procedure, conduct training on the policy, and ensure that it is enforced. Further, employers should consider implementing a formal office romance policy.” (Tiffani McDonough at Obermayer)

2. Teach your employees what’s right and what’s wrong:

“[M]anagement tools that employers may use to manage the fallout from workplace romances include training (for managers, employees, volunteers, vendors, contractors, etc.) including providing information about the fact that close personal relationships (sexual or otherwise) with a direct subordinate may be perceived as favoritism.” (Leslie Wallis at Ogletree Deakins)

3. Consider a love contract for workplace couples:

“A tool employers may want to consider is a “love contract.”  A love contract is a written document that confirms that two employees’ romantic relationship is completely voluntary.  When used correctly it can help reduce the possible ramifications of romantic entanglements, i.e., future litigation.” (Ria Chattergoon at Fisher & Phillips)

4. Be prepared for affairs to go sour:

“To understand the legal risks associated with a soured workplace romance between a supervisor and a subordinate—that is, when the mutual attraction between two employees of different organizational statuses ends—it is important first to understand the two main forms of sexual harassment in the workplace—quid pro quo, and hostile work environment.” (Jennifer Rubin at Mintz Levin)

5. Thoroughly investigate complaints between former lovers:

“The fact that a consensual relationship may have existed in the past shouldn’t be interpreted to mean a complaint may not be real. Prompt investigation will allow the company to address the current situation and show other employees that improper behavior will not be tolerated.” (Christina Kennedy at Foley & Lardner)

The updates:

Read more on Workplace Romance at JD Supra Business Advisor>>