Ahh..it’s almost Valentine’s Day and your employees may have a special someone. Can you blame them? You hire talented professionals that spend most of their waking hours together. Some workplace romances turn into marriage and happily ever after, while others can turn into sexual harassment nightmares. Either way, you’re rolling the dice by ignoring the steps that can be taken by employers to “manage” workplace romance.
- Share the Fraternization or Workplace Dating Policy
Once you have at least 2 employees, consider placing this policy in your Employee Handbook. Even employees with the best intentions need to know about general workplace guidelines. Need help developing this policy? Contact Willis HR
- Define the Process to Report a Workplace Relationship
You may have a policy in place but do you have a requirement to report the relationship to HR and/or leadership? Typically, it’s a solid business practice to receive this information and ensure that these romance buddies are not on the same team and definitely do not have a reporting relationship. If the relationship is not disclosed, it may a terminable offense.
- Stay Up-to-date on Anti-Harassment/Sexual Harassment Training
Leadership and employees should receive training on cultivating a Harassment/Sexual Harassment Free Workplace. It’s legally responsible and sets the tone for the company culture.
- Provide Gentle Reminders to All Team Members on a Regular Basis
Feel free to email out policy reminders on a regular basis, especially before or around holidays. Over-communicating is a great thing when it provides consistent reinforcement of workplace expectations. You just want all employees (even new hires) to understand company guidelines.
Even if you take every precaution, it is still likely that a workplace romance will occur. And, even though it’s an activity that is happening outside of work, it will inevitably show up at work. What matters most now is how you handle the situation.