Model Workplace Romance ‘Love Contract’
Having employees involved in office romances disclose their relationship and follow key ground rules can help avoid negative impacts on the lab.
Historically, employers have sought to guard against the problems that can arise when employees at the same company become romantically involved by banning such relationships. Experience has shown that this approach doesn’t work. Such policies won’t stop workplace romance from forming, but only drive it underground and breed resentment. A more innovative and effective approach is to allow workplace romance but require the employees who get involved in it to disclose their relationship, acknowledge its potentially negative workplace impacts, and agree to adhere to certain ground rules of behavior. Here’s a love contract template that you can adapt for your own lab.
AGREEMENT FOR EMPLOYEES INVOLVED IN CONSENSUAL ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS
Employee A, employed by ABC Laboratories as a _______________, and Employee B, employed by ABC Laboratories as a _______________, hereby notify ABC Laboratories that we wish to enter into a voluntary and mutual consensual social relationship in accordance with the ABC Laboratories Workplace Fraternization & Romance Policy (the Policy).
We acknowledge that we have both received, reviewed and agreed to comply with all terms of the Policy. In signing below, we also acknowledge that the social relationship between us does not violate the Policy, and that entering into the social relationship has not been made a condition or term of employment.
We also understand, acknowledge, and agree to the following:
- The workplace social/romantic relationship that we are in is both consensual and welcome;
- We are each free to terminate our relationship at any time without experiencing any form of work-related reprisal or retaliation;
- Neither of us will assume a supervisory role over the other for as long as we remain in this relationship;
- We will not participate in any discussions or decisions related to the terms of the other’s employment, including (but not limited to) with regard to assignments, evaluations, discipline or discharge, compensation, scheduling, promotion, or demotion;
- We will not engage in any inappropriate public displays of affection or any inappropriate conduct in the workplace or at work-related functions;
- We will not engage in conduct or treatment that other employees may reasonably regard as professional favoritism by one partner in favor of the other;
- We will behave professionally to each other at all times while we are at work or performing work-related activities;
- We will continue to treat each other professionally while we are at work or work-related functions even after our romantic relationship ends;
- We will inform ABC Laboratories immediately if our romantic relationship ends if either of us feels that the conduct of our partner is no longer welcome and/or that the relationship is no longer consensual;
- We each understand that this information will be kept in confidence and that this agreement is not intended to invade our privacy but to affirm that we have both received and agree to comply with all relevant policies;
- We each understand that we may consult with a lawyer, either individually, or as a couple, before signing this agreement.
Signature of Employee 1 Date
Signature of Employee 2 Date
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