The love contract will also set forth guidelines for acceptable and unacceptable romantic behavior in the workplace.
“ Not every junior-senior relationship causes trouble, but their sensitive nature means everyone involved needs to be extra-aware of what’s ethical.
Employers should consider a policy against such relationships, or one that requires employees to disclose these relationships and sign agreements for solutions for if the relationship becomes problematic (i.e. Love contracts A consensual relationship agreement, sometimes called a love contract, is a written document signed by two employees in a consensual relationship acknowledging the relationship is voluntary.
These disclosures usually contain a reminder of the company's harassment, discrimination, and retaliation policies, as well as a clear acknowledgment that the relationship is consensual.
Global management and strategy consultant Kathleen Brush says when a company she’s working with doesn’t have a policy expressly forbidding superior-subordinate relationships, she lobbies hard to get one in place.
“I do this because [relationships] can cause a lot of damage. They are dead ringers for cascading violations of integrity.” One of the major concerns regarding junior/senior dating is that there may be an element of coercion.
“Junior-senior relationships in the office can hurt morale and even harm the company if the people involved forget their professionalism,” says Beth P. The relationship can lead to claims of favoritism or cause other co-workers to feel uncomfortable and create a hostile work environment.“If the source is reliable, or if you've observed suspicious behavior yourself, go directly to the boss or the senior person in the situation and determine the nature of the relationship, remind them of the policy, and ask for their cooperation and confidentiality.If they continue against policy, use your company's disciplinary policy to correct the situation.” As a protection against accusations of harassment or coercion, some employers have employees sign a “love contract.” These contracts indicate “that the employees are voluntarily engaging in a romantic relationship, that the relationship will not affect the workplace, and that the participants are aware of the employer's sexual harassment policies,” Zoller says.If the relationship sours, allegations of retaliation or harassment could be made.Even if the relationship goes well, other employees may say the supervisor is showing favoritism.