Blame it on the amount of time workers spend together. The office is a hotbed for romance. Gina Zaremba found her husband of nearly 27 years...
Blame it on the amount of time workers spend together. The office is a hotbed for romance.
Gina Zaremba found her husband of nearly 27 years, Duane, at work. She was a bank teller; he was the branch operations officer and one of her bosses.
To keep it professional, Gina transferred when they started dating.
Today, that same relationship might require a “love contract,” lawyers said.
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Companies are starting to use them to ensure a relationship is consensual and to reiterate their sexual-harassment policy. Fear of lawsuits has been the impetus.
But with concerns about how romance can affect productivity and morale, companies may set ground rules for conduct in the contract.
Bill Hayden, an employment-law attorney, said his first “love contract” was written more than 10 years ago.
“People are going to fall in love,” said Hayden, who writes up a handful of contracts a year. But when that love dies, the reality is, it opens up the door for someone to say later they never wanted the relationship.
“Eighty percent of the sexual-harassment lawsuits I’ve handled arose from that scenario,” he said.
The most recent survey on workplace romance from the Society for Human Resource Management found 75 percent of human-resource managers reported no formal dating policies.
Companies report happy endings from workplace romances. Hayden even recalls a love contract between a manager and receptionist that resulted in marriage.
“It [the contract] did cause a temporary blip in the relationship. But their relationship survived.”