The dating or fraternization policy adopted by an organization reflects the culture of the organization. Employee-oriented, forward-thinking workplaces recognize that one of the places where employees meet their eventual spouse or partner is at work. But, relationships can also go awry and result in friction and conflict at work. This can affect the team, the department, and even the mood of the organization when stress permeates the air. In the metoo era, which took off on social media starting in , heightened awareness of boundaries and the difference between harmless flirting and sexual harassment make workplace dating policies critically important.
Relationships in the Workplace
Employer Policies - Workplace Fairness
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When Love Blooms in the Breakroom: Policies for Workplace Romances
According to a study by online dating site eHarmony, more people meet their spouses at work or school than anywhere else. In fact, some high profile couples -— Bill and Melinda Gates, for example -— began their romances in the office. While some companies are lax when it comes to relationships outside of work, others strictly prohibit off-hours fraternization between employees. In an era when sexual harassment is a real concern for organizations, the notion of two employees dating each other does have potential for some tricky policy questions. Some argue that if both parties are in a consensual relationship, what they do on their own time has no bearing on the company and should not be prohibited.
Johnny C. Taylor Jr. The questions are submitted by readers, and Taylor's answers below have been edited for length and clarity. Have a question?