If you put individuals with common interests together for 40-plus hours per week, office romance is bound to happen. Statistics seem to bear that out: According to a survey by Valut.com, an
online career center, 47 percent of the 1,000 professionals surveyed had been involved in an office romance, and another 19 percent would consider it. Of those individuals who had a romance,
11 percent had dated their managers or another manager.
‘This issue is not going away,’ says Helaine Olen, coauthor of Office Mate: The Employee Handbook for Finding—and Managing—Romance on the Job (Adams Media, 2007). It’s crucial,
she says, for managers to accept the likelihood of office romance and have policies and procedures in place to address it when it occurs. Most experts warn against forbidding office romance
altogether. They see it as futile. ‘Our experience was if a company tried to forbid it, more people started dating for the thrill of it. It was counter-productive,’ Olen says. This is an issue among
every employee demographic, not just single 20-somethings, although in her experience members of each group handle the situation differently. For instance, ‘The average 22-year-old wasn’t
concerned about who knew whatand when. The older employees were more likely to keep it quiet. But it was still fairly common,’ Olen says.
Seventy-two percent of companies had no policy regarding workplace romance, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Workplace Romance Poll. ‘The vast
majority of companies do not have rules around dating, and they should. Of the few that do, most of them involve a boss dating a subordinate. If they perceive a conflict of interest or see the
relationship as disruptive or potentially disruptive, human resources should step in,’ asserts Olen.
One type of workplace policy that is being adopted is a consensual relationship agreement (CRA). A CRA is essentially a written ‘contract’ in which the romantically involved parties
acknowledge the following:
• Their relationship is voluntary and consensual.
• They agree to abide by the employer’s antidiscrimination, antiharassment, and workplace conduct policies.
• They promise to report any perceived harassment to management, if it occurs.
• They agree to behave professionally and not to allow the relationship to affect their performance.
• They agree to avoid behavior that offends others in the workplace.
• They agree not to engage in favoritism. This is especially an issue if one of the employees is in a higher management position and has the authority to influence rewards available to the other
Some individuals believe that the reasons for expecting employees who are in a relationship to sign a CRA include:
• Decreasing sexual harassment litigation risk. After a workplace romance fails, the employee sometimes claims to have been pressured into the relationship. A CRA signed after the relationship
has started can effectively refute such claims because it provides compelling evidence that the employees entered the relationship voluntarily. But what if employees refuse to sign? The CRA
be a condition of employment. Some individuals advise approaching employees about signing ‘love’ contracts by showing them how the documents protect them, too, in the event the relationship
turns sour. Even though an employee wants to keep things private, there’s always the risk of something going wrong. If there is a helpful, responsible way of working with the employee in place,
the situation is more like to be normalized.
• Reducing perceptions of favoritism. Favoritism—or the appearance of it—isn’t just poor employee relations. In some cases, it is a cause for sexual harassment lawsuits. In a few states, the
interpretation of sexual harassment laws includes third parties. If an employee views a supervisor as favoring a subordinate due to their relationship, the employee can sue the company—and the
supervisor personally—for sexual harassment.
• Creating a forum to discuss professional workplace behavior. A CRA provides a forum for human resource professionals to talk to dating employees about what is appropriate and inappropriate
workplace behavior. They can remind employees to be sensitive to their coworkers, especially concerning displays of physical affection, verbal affection, or lovers’ quarrels.
• Reminding dating employees of lack of privacy in the workplace. When employees bring their relationships into the workplace, they don’t have a legal right to privacy. They are governed by
a no-harassment policy. This doesn’t mean the employer has the right to ask about intimate details, but when employees are in the workplace, the employer has the right to set reasonable rules.
employees should not instant message or e-mail each other about intimate issues. Even an innocuous note such as ‘Where do you want to go to dinner tonight?’ can be misconstrued if the
relationship goes sour. Employees in a relationship should only speak privately and in person about personal issues.
1. Argue for the use of Consensual Relationship Agreements (CRAs) in either Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport Newsor in the VA School System. You can use either you feel like writing
2. Create a counter argument against the use of CRAs in whichever place you selected in question 1.
3. Discuss the ethical principles involved in the use of CRAs.
4. Create at least one (1) other option besides CRAs that would address workplace romances.
Running Head: CRAs
5. Use at least three (3) quality academic resources in this assignment. Note: Wikipedia and other Websites do not qualify as academic resources.
In Questions 1 and 2, focus on nonethical ramifications (save any discussion of ethics for Question 3).
Must be in essay format. Use of bullets should be avoided.
Support your statements with appropriate reasoning and examples. Be sure to include in-text citations.
Use headings and subheadings as appropriate.
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