Instead of forbidding office romances altogether, more employers have been instituting so-called love contracts so that the relationships can continue without potential harm to the company.

office romance, workers
Catherine Yeulet, ThinkStock

The workplace has become the new singles bar, and romance happens when one spends so much time with other people who share the same interests. However, statistics show most relationships don't last, and the aftermath isn't always so peaceful.

"One person's romance today, entirely consensual, is next week's sexual harassment claim," said Christopher Mills, a partner with labor law firm Fisher & Phillips in Murray Hill.

Mills has assisted employers in drafting the special contracts that address office romance. With their signatures, the parties acknowledge they're in a relationship and no one has been coerced, especially if the situation involves a boss and subordinate.

"But at the same time, you want to do what you can to insulate the company from a claim later," Mills added.

Typically, a contract includes the provision that any future disputes be handled privately and not in court.

The contracts can vary from employer to employer, but other possible elements include:

  • Refrain from public displays of affection at work
  • One person will be moved to another department
  • Notify a supervisor when the relationship ends

Mills noted a flat-out no dating policy hardly ever works for companies.

"Employees find a way," he said. "Don't put out policies that you know won't be or can't be enforced."

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