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Make sure to specify that sexual comments or public displays of affection, even if they are wanted, can be considered sexual harassment.Encourage open communication–Request that employees disclose their relationship to HR if it becomes romantic.Make the consequences clear–Define what will happen if the policies are violated.Example: written reprimand, transfer, demotion, termination. Address sexual harassment–State outright that any alleged sexual harassment will be handled in a legally proper manner and that the company has a zero-tolerance policy.
Studies show it’s best to regulate office romance with established guidelines and procedures.
Add specifics on public displays of affection and professionalism (such as reminding the parties to address each other by name, and not a nickname or pet name.) An employer can’t force an employee to sign a consensual romance contract but can explain to the employees how a written documentation of their relationship can protect both them and the company from potential issues in the future.
A consensual romance contract should be completed by the couple and reviewed by HR to ensure that the employees understand and can successfully follow the guidelines of the contract.
Here are some key components of a successful workplace romance policy: State what is not acceptable–Define exactly what types of relationships will and will not be tolerated and why.
Example: Dating someone you report to or who reports to you causes a direct conflict of interest for both of you–and for the company.
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Employers can regulate workplace romance by implementing a formal relationship policy.