Workplace dating agreements
Concerned about sexual harassment charges, employers are wary of cupid’s arrow this Valentine’s Day and some of them are turning to “Love Contracts” or in lawyer terms – a Consensual Relationship Agreement.
The Fair Work laws which came into effect in 2008 created Individual Transitional Employment Agreements or ITEAs (special individual agreements which could only be made up until the end of 2009) and in July 2009 changed Collective Agreements to Enterprise Agreements.For the reasons I’ll discuss below, I’m not sure that having two employees sign this type of agreement really mitigates the risk of a sexual harassment claim from one of the employees involved in the relationship all that much, but so we’re all on the same page before I share my thoughts, here is an example of a Consensual Relationship Agreement: We acknowledge that [Employer] is committed to providing a workplace that is free of harassment, discrimination, conflicts of interest, and favouritism, and that [Employer] will not tolerate unwelcome or offensive conduct, conduct that creates a hostile work environment, or sexual harassment.We have read and understand [Employer’s] anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.Often, an employee will argue that he or she was an unwilling participant in a relationship that merely appeared to be consensual.Even a consensual relationship, if it goes sour, can result in unwelcome advances, stalking, or other predatory conduct.Even more shocking is that 40% of those 18-29 year olds would date their supervisors.
According to a Career Builder survey, interoffice dating has a fairly high success rate--of the 38% of people surveyed that dated a co-worker at least once, 31% went on to marry that co-worker! If you believe the stats of new employees entering the workforce, it might seem so.
At some time during your working life, you may have dated, or even married, someone you met at work.
If you haven't, then the odds are that you know someone who has.
Chas Rampenthal is general counsel and vice president of product development at Legal Zoom.
He's also a former talk radio host (KTLK AM 1150 at Clear Channel) and an entrepreneur himself, as the founder of Legal Endeavor.
In a consensual relationship between a supervisor and a subordinate, the subordinate often is the recipient of preferential treatment.