Dating policy in workplace

Policies About Workplace Dating

Kate and Doug Hickey had two employees at Honolulu-based coffee grower Sunshower Farms — a supervisor and subordinate — who began a relationship in They had the couple sign a contract saying if the relationship ended and they couldn't work together comfortably, one would have to resign.

The couple eventually married and moved away.

If a similar situation arises again, Hickey says she would probably consult an attorney who has more expertise about sexual harassment and draft a "more detailed" contract. Many bosses may not even be aware of a relationship until someone mentions it.


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HR professionals say an owner should approach the couple, discuss the situation, and if the company requires a relationship contract, have them sign it. More complicated is when an owner suspects there's an attraction or budding relationship — when's the right time to step in? There's no one answer, but a boss should certainly talk to the employees when it's clear there's a romantic connection. A greater concern is what to do if the romance ends. As long as there's no sign of a problem, the boss should respect everyone's privacy.

But if one person keeps pursuing another, an owner needs to be on alert.

1. Require Disclosure

Even if unwanted contacts take place off the company's premises or on social media, a boss needs to intervene, Schmidt says. Businesses can be liable if they don't address potential harassment because employees might feel they're in a hostile working environment, Schmidt says.

Even business owners who have been part of workplace romances say they're warier now. Marianne Bertuna was an intern and then an associate in Arthur Aidala's small New York law firm, starting in Aidala was attracted to her, but told himself, "This is a work person and nothing is going to happen.

2. Appropriate Conduct

Any employee who engages in such a relationship must accept responsibility for assuring that it does not result in a conflict of interest or raise other issues of professionalism. If a relationship is deemed to be inappropriate under these guidelines, the appropriate department head or next level of administrator, after consultation with the EAD and a Human Resources Consultant will take appropriate action.

No-Dating Policies

If an employee, whether or not involved in the relationship, believe they have been, or are being, adversely affected, they are encouraged to contact the EAD or a Human Resources Consultant. When relationships develop into situations that may be viewed as harassment or discrimination, employees should refer to the Anti-Harassment Policy and the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy.

HR Insights Blog | 4 Must-Haves for Your Workplace Dating Policy

If questions or concerns arise regarding potential harassment or discrimination, the employee should contact the EAD. This policy is intended as a guideline to assist in the consistent application of University policies and programs for employees. The policy does not create a contract implied or expressed, with any Vanderbilt employees, who are employees at will.

Vanderbilt reserves the right to modify this policy in whole or in part, at any time, at the discretion of the University. Approved by Traci K. July 1, POLICY Vanderbilt University strives to be a family-friendly workplace and is committed to maintaining an environment in which members of the University community can work together to further education, research, patient care and community service.

If one family member has influence over another family member's conditions of employment, the following should occur: Options include, but are not limited to: Browse Posts by Category. Get more articles like this one delivered to your inbox. Require Disclosure Even if you are opting for a more relaxed dating policy within your organizat