Model Workplace Romance & Fraternization Policy
It’s important to implement a policy that allows you to keep control over the potential issues romantic relationships can cause in the lab.
Like it or not, the workplace is a breeding ground for romance. But work and romance be a poor mix. Conflicts of interest, harassment, and discrimination are just a few of the things that can go wrong when employees get romantically involved with colleagues. Although banning dating is an option, it’s a policy likely to create resentment and all kinds of practical enforcement challenges. That’s why many companies choose to regulate rather than ban workplace romance. The key is to implement a policy that allows you to keep control over the potential issues that romantic relationships can cause. Here’s a template that you can adapt for your lab.
Workplace Romance & Fraternization Policy
While recognizing that workplace romances can have adverse effects on employees and the workplace, ABC Laboratories does not prohibit employees from dating and entering into consensual social and romantic relationships with co-workers, provided that:
- Both parties mutually and voluntarily consent to the social relationship;
- The relationship does not breach ABC Laboratories’ core values, mission, and responsibility to its physicians, patients, employees, and other stakeholders; and
- The relationship does not affect the judgment or performance of duties of involved employees or negatively impact the common good of ABC Laboratories.
The purpose of this Policy is to ensure that the above principles are put into action and ensure that social relationships do not adversely affect the workplace.
This Policy applies to all employees of ABC Laboratories, including supervisors, managers, technicians, and executives, whether hired on a full-time, part-time, temporary, or other basis, as well as to volunteer workers and interns.
4. Employee Obligations
ABC Laboratories employees that enter into, or are currently involved in, a romantic relationship with a co-worker must:
- Notify the ABC Laboratories’ human resources director of the relationship;
- Review and be scrupulous to comply with ABC Laboratories’ policy prohibiting sexual harassment;
- Sign the ABC Laboratories Consensual Relationship Agreement (a copy of which is attached to this Policy as Exhibit A);
- Agree to possible reassignment if the social relationship involves a subordinate employee;
- Behave professionally at all times and avoid indiscreet behavior while at the workplace or while on ABC Laboratories’ time or business, including refraining from public displays of sexual affection, sexual innuendo, suggestive comments, and sexually oriented joking;
- Agree to confidential counseling by ABC Laboratories’ Employee Assistance Program (EAP) regarding the issues surrounding workplace dating; and
- Notify the ABC Laboratories human resources director should the social relationship terminate.
5. Consequences of Violations
Employees found to be in violation of this policy will be subject to reassignment, transfer, and/or disciplinary action up to and including termination in accordance with the ABC Laboratories progressive disciplinary policy and the terms of any applicable collective bargaining agreements.
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