Interoffice dating ethics

Traditional places like church, family events, and leisure time activities don’t present the same pool of candidates as they did in earlier times.The workplace provides a preselected pool of people who share at least one important area of common ground.The policy may also state that you expect staff members to behave in a professional manner while dating.

Regardless of whether your employer has a workplace romance policy in place, you’ll want to keep your relationship off workplace radar as much as possible.

If you and your partner have contact on a regular basis, keep the contact professional. Avoid talking privately in corners or behind closed doors, regularly eating lunch together without other coworkers, and -- above all -- touching.

According to Dana Wilkie, an online SHRM editor, periodic surveys by SHRM show that 99 percent of employers with romance policies in place indicate that love matches between supervisors and staff members are not allowed.

That’s up from 80 percent in 2005, and from 64 percent in SHRM’s 2001 Workplace Romance survey.

Your organization will not tolerate sexual encounters and sexual behavior at work.

Spell out the consequences if the romance is negatively impacting the workplace.

The SHRM research also found that some companies forbid hookups between their employees and clients or customers, and 11 percent forbid romances between their employees and employees of their competitors.

Respondents to the SHRM surveys who discouraged or forbade dating in the workplace cited concerns with potential sexual harassment claims, retaliation, claims that a relationship was not consensual, civil suits and workplace disharmony if the relationship should end.

Almost half these policies – 45 percent – forbid romances between employees of significantly different rank. Many organizations forbid intimate relationships even outside supervisory relationships.

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