US-style “love contracts” relevant to UK employees?

 

Its Valentine’s day and advo hr has come across an interesting, thought-provoking and frankly quite funny article on “love contracts” and thought we’d share what we’ve learnt.

In case you don’t know (and we didn’t!) a love contract is an agreement used frequently in the US by employers where employees are involved in a romantic relationship.  The agreement sets out certain restrictions for personal relationships in the workplace, but it would often also ask employees to confirm that the romantic relationship is voluntary and consensual, that they will refrain from potential future retaliation, and that they will not sue the employer for sexual harassment.

Apparently Facebook have gone one step further in their relationships at work policy by stipulating that an employee may only ask out a fellow employee once, with answers such as “I’m busy” or “I can’t that night” also counting as a no.

On the one hand, such a contract ensures proper and correct behaviour in the workplace, limiting the risk of harassment and similar behaviours from occurring. But will such a strict monitor on office romances take hold in the UK or is this just an intrusion on someone’s private life?

We’re not sure that such contracts and rules will take hold in the UK, mainly due to the Human Rights Act 1998 which gives employees the right to respect for family and private life.  However, you may want to make sure that you have a relevant relationships at work policy in place to protect the interests of the business – the policy should make sure that you are protecting the rights of the employee whilst also ensuring that relationships don’t have an impact on the bottom line.  Employees should be required to disclose any work relationship that may give rise to a conflict of interest (e.g. a line manager and a subordinate, or two people working in the same department).

Please get in touch with advo hr if you need help with putting in place a policy or update the one you currently have. contact Carly on cgegory@advogroup.co.uk.

 

 
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