Some employers, concerned about workplace romances and sexual harassment lawsuits, require that dating coworkers sign “Love Contracts.” (see article here; free registration required).
That’s right: a contract that sets terms on love.
The Contracts require dating employees to agree, among other things, that their personal relationship is consensual (e.g. to admit their relationship does not involve a supervisor misusing his authority and coercing a subordinate to date him).
A bit intrusive, you might say? In practical terms, yes. But in legal terms, no. While I feel employers often go WAY overboard with intrusive maneuvers (viewing employees’ emails and internet use, using PIs to spy on injured workers, etc.), I actually agree with employers’ use of “Love Contracts.”
Why? Because employers have reason to be concerned. Sexual harassment is a very real risk in worker-dating situations, and liability for a sexual harassment lawsuit can be staggering. Most dating-relationships end without marriage, and many end with hard feelings. And many jilted people do irrational things. These realities are painfully evident to employers, likely even more so than to love-struck coworkers who are blinded to common risks and future contingencies.
It only makes sense that employers ask dating coworkers to acknowledge that their relationship is personal, is of their own free will, and that it’s not the employer’s fault if things go sour.
After all, love hurts.