Would you sign a Love Contract?
Love contracts are an idea that originated in the USA but have now crossed the Atlantic. You would think that it’s about committing to a relationship with your partner, but it’s actually something quite different. And it’s very much a workplace issue…
What is a Love Contract, then?
A Love Contract is a Consensual Relationship Agreement that two company workers sign to confirm that they have not been forced into a relationship in order to prevent the risk of sexual harassment claims being made in a potential future.
Generally speaking, it’s a policy that would be included in the staff handbook, and it would encourage employees to be discreet about their relationship. Sometimes, it would also rule against a manager dating someone in their direct reporting line.
But is all of this actually any of your concern?
And, do you think it would be a good idea to introduce Love Contracts in your organisation? With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, it’s something worth thinking about.
First of all, it’s clear that you can’t prevent people falling in love at work. Your staff no doubt spend lots of their time in the office, so it’s natural that strong bonds are bound to be made, and these can sometimes turn into something stronger. It’s totally acceptable to expect your staff to be discrete when this happens. After all, no one wants to see their colleagues kissing on the corridors.
What do you think companies should do to monitor office romances and limit the risk of sexual harassment?
You need to bear in mind that taking away people’s right to work in an environment that’s free from harassment could be not only legally questionable but also a serious ethical issue.
What's important to consider here is that you should be cautious, and mindful of the problems that this can bring. If romances at your workplace are taking place, then it makes sense that you carefully manage the situation and ensure that it doesn’t turn into a huge HR problem. You may even want to include a marriage and dating policy in your staff handbook, so you’re prepared should the situation arise.
A love contract, though, is quite possibly a step too far for us Brits…