What is a Love Contract and do I really need one?

Submitted by Dawn on 13th February 2017

how to manage work place romance, office romance, HR,

Love contracts have been commonplace in the US for some time now and it looks like the trend has crossed the pond.  You’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s all about dedicating your life to a loved one, but it’s actually something quite different. And it’s very much a workplace issue… 

A love contract is an agreement that an employer may ask employees who are involved in a romantic and/or sexual relationship to sign.  The contract states that the relationship is voluntary and consensual. And that the parties are aware of the employer’s sexual harassment policy.

Basically, it’s a policy that can protect the employer if one of the parties later alleges sexual harassment. It outlines appropriate behaviour rules and emphasises that the couple must refrain from allowing their intimate relationship to affect their colleagues or their professional performance. 

But is this any of your business? 

And is a love contract something that you should be introducing into your organisation?
 
With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, it’s something that’s worth considering. 

First of all, it’s clear that you can’t make rules about falling in love. Your staff spend a big chunk of their time at work, so it’s natural that strong relationships will be formed, and sometimes these develop into something deeper. However, it’s totally acceptable to expect your staff to be discrete when this happens. 

The bottom line is that you should be alert, and mindful of the issues that can arise. If workplace romances are going on, then it makes sense that you carefully manage the situation and ensure that it doesn’t turn into an HR disaster. 

You may even want to include a relationship policy in your staff handbook, so you’re prepared should the situation arise. 

A love contract though is quite possibly a step too far … 

If you need help drafting and introducing policies in your organisations we can help. Fill in the Contact Form to the right or call us on 01604 763494 today to arrange your no-obligation discussion.