If Your Company Has a No Dating Policy
What makes more sense is for senior management to put into place a "ombudsman" or "higher complaint" office where workers can take their complaints on a confidential, non-discriminating, and discrete basis. The emphasis is on how to best solve problems in a managerial sense, rather than trying to ban them in a legalistic, policy-wise way. Interestingly enough, we have seen a total swing away from the "Leave It to Beaver" Sixties times when "no-dating" policies were quite widespread.
During the past three decades, there has been a swing away from these restrictive polices, because employees simply don't want to work in these "uptight" type of situations. Workers tend to take their relationship over that job, but not their careers. A numbers of HR managers and officers believe that these restrictive rules are unenforceable, and the biggest problems they had were with their managerial employees, rather than just being limited to their entry-level workers. The trend is for companies to dismantle, rather than implement, such restrictive rules-especially with respect to coworkers where some 80 percent of all office romances are centered.
HR experts understand the argument about the high costs of defense, but the problem is that these restrictive policies create even higher costs and even more lawsuits , as seen above. The great majority of relationships that originate but not necessarily end at a company do not end in sexual harassment litigation-and companies need to balance this in their decision in implementing reasonable and viable employment policies. Over 90 percent of all organizations do not prohibit coworker relationships, using an informal policy of "benign neglect. And industries can be more accepting, or not, depending not only on how that industry is changing and the work hours i.
Further, restrictive policies are not the best corporate defense that one might first think. They lead to even worse situations because there is no place for grievances to go, as well as establishing bad morale for workers. Employees just don't follow those polices and resent this intrusion into their private affairs.
There are better solutions, such as employing more humane and reasonable policies that recognize that people attract one another, no matter what rules you put in their way. The experience has been that restrictive policies just buy more expensive lawsuits for companies to defend against. For example, just what do you do if a woman in management is fast tracking and happens to become involved with one of her subordinates?
Hopefully, the same rules will be applied if the boss is a man. If transfer is not an option for either one or both , then the company can transfer the performance evaluation functions to a third party until something else is worked out. The key is that the company needs to place a managerial emphasis on what it does under a flexible policy rather than a rigid, inflexible one.
Think about where your company's policies on office romances fit into this discussion, and what changes you would make, when you have that executive chance. While we promote an open forum, please follow these guidelines to ensure an enjoyable and welcoming environment for all our readers.
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Retrieved August 16, Archived from the original on December 5, Retrieved May 27, Finance Reuters SEC filings. Home Box Office Inc. Africa France Italy Spain. They are still married and still at the company where Roger has worked for 30 years and Chris, 20 years. More couples like the Gamelins are cropping up at companies across the country. With corporate cost-cutting forcing employees to spend longer hours at work, colleagues are increasingly dating and marrying, observers of the trend say.
And disappearing guarantees of lifetime jobs mean fewer employees are letting companies tell them how to conduct their private lives. Although employers have mixed opinions and varied policies on office romance, they are recognizing it's a fact of work life. Seventy percent said they permit and accept dating, while only 1.
It used to be that many companies tried to impose rules prohibiting romantic involvement, usually requiring one of the couple to resign. Now, "the concept of re-engineering is re-engineering romance," said N. Elizabeth Fried, a management consultant. But legal experts say companies now walk a fine line between not invading employees' privacy with policies regulating romantic behavior and leaving themselves open for sexual harassment claims when a romance goes sour.
That is, with one notable exception: Any time a supervisor is involved with an employee it could later be argued in a sexual harassment suit to have been non-consensual, Segal said.