Should Employers Love 'Love Contracts?'
As employees spend more time at the office, the number of inter-office romances has increased and so too, has the need of employers to protect themselves against any liability for sexual harassment claims that often result from a love affair gone wrong, reports Newsweek. Now, some companies are finding that protection in the form of a "consensual relationship agreement," or a love contract. Basically, a love contract is drawn up when a supervisor is dating a subordinate or when one of two co-workers is promoted above the other. In most cases, the contracts are drafted when management suspects that a couple is dating since they rarely self-report the relationship. The contract usually states that either party will seek arbitration rather than file a harassment grievance if the relationship sours. Given the sensitive nature of love contracts, they are often voluntary, with the parties often keeping mum about having signed.
Some lawyers doubt that that love contracts will make any difference. At the blog,
Rush on Business, Rush Nigut has this to say:
Sure certain office-romance relationships may start out consensual but it can quickly turn to harassment when one of the lovers calls it quits and the other won't give up the pursuit. I tend to believe that the changed circumstances and conduct that occurred after the relationship breaks off still opens the company up to liability - love contract or no love contract.
Do law firms ever use love contracts? Let us know in the comments if you're familiar with a firm that does.
Posted by Carolyn Elefant on May 22, 2008 at 04:42 PM | Permalink
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