Failed Office Romances Can Result in Stalking, Workplace or Domestic Violence, Employees Quitting or Being Reassigned
New Providence, NJ (February 4, 2019) -- Like it or not, workplace romance is a reality most employers face. Although some workplaces completely ban office romance, more often, employers establish policies placing certain restrictions and parameters on dating, particularly between those who have reporting relationships, says a new XpertHR report on workplace romance.
While it's commonly acknowledged that co-workers in a direct line of reporting shouldn't consort, the reality is that such romances continue to occur, even if less frequently since the rise of #MeToo movement. Surveys reveal that about half of employees have had at least one office romance, but only 5% of workers would willingly tell their HR team if they were in a workplace relationship.
One of the problems with romantic workplace relationships is that they don't all end well. In fact, some end in disaster, such as cases of stalking, workplace or domestic violence, employees quitting or being reassigned, and more. These situations may create conflict and sensitivities that extend throughout the workplace, impacting morale and productivity. It's not surprising that business leaders and HR professionals are concerned about the potential negative effects of workplace relationships. HR leaders should think very carefully, and very strategically, about whether to prohibit or discourage romantic relationships at work.
"From an HR standpoint, workplace relationships have the potential to impact employee morale and productivity, retention, as well as the potential for harassment claims that may arise when an overzealous employee attempts to start a relationship with an uninterested co-worker or when an initially consensual relationship comes to an end," says Beth Zoller, Legal Editor, XpertHR. "Employers may prefer not to attempt to ban all romantic relationships in the workplace, but rather develop an appropriate strategy, and related policies, documentation and training, to effectively navigate the sensitive issue of workplace romances."
XpertHR recommends that employers:
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Editor's Note: Beth Zoller is available for interview and to submit content on workplace romance. If you use any of this material, please include a link to https://bit.ly/2UigvrX.
Beth Brody (for XpertHR)