As employers come to realize they are largely powerless to bar colleagues from dating one another, some are asking staff to sign “ love contracts” – documents in which office lovers acknowledge before their bosses in writing that a liaison is consensual and that they understand the company’s sexual harassment policies.
According to Forbes.com, the documents serve as “a second of line of defence” for employers increasingly concerned about the fallout of office breakups, from a volatile workplace culture to lost productivity and possible sexual harassment claims.
Since non-fraternization policies are virtually impossible to enforce, “People are moving away from that and moving to other strategies,” Lisa Friel, vice-president of sexual misconduct consulting and investigations at T&M Protection Resources, told Forbes.com.
“They may say: If you’re having a relationship, you need to tell us, and beyond that we’re going to have you sign papers that [say]it’s a consensual [one]”
Lawyer Alan Lesnewich told Forbes that in order for love contracts to have any effect, both employees in an office entanglement need to read and sign the document, which should also state that the relationship “will not affect others in the office” – fairly subjective territory.
Mr. Lesnewich acknowledged the contracts might not stand up in court: One party may say he or she was coerced into signing it.
In Canada, 30 per cent of workers said they had dated a co-worker at least once, according to a CareerBuilder survey.
Would you sign a contract to date a co-worker?