Assignment #1 - Consensual Relationship Agreement Case Study Professor Dr. Maggie Sizer
Leadership and Organizational Behavior – BUS 520
October 23, 2012
As companies begin to acknowledge the existence of work place romances, the use of consensual relationship agreements (CRAs) has become an area of discussion. While many of today’s organizations prohibit the romantic involvement of its employees with one another, there are other companies that have adopted the use of consensual relationship agreements. Although employers find the CRAs an easy solution to this situation, the employees romantically involved, employees are against the agreement, arguing that the contract is intrusive in their personal lives. They go further on their arguments, stating that the agreement is an invasion of their privacy, and that the document goes against some ethical principles. From the Human Resources professionals perspective, they will try their best to make sure employees and employer agree with the contract and are happy with the situation, so a negative influence do not impact other coworkers, and their performances will not affect their jobs. 1. Critics of CRAs assert that they are too intrusive, ineffective, and unnecessary and that they can cause as many problems as they solve. Identify the specific reasons and examples that might justify these criticisms. Critics are relying on the concern-for-others principles that focus on “the need to consider decisions and behaviors from the perspective of those affected”, which in this case, are the employees who sign the Consensual Relationship Agreements. Employees who are romantically involved at work and are asked to sign the agreement, may consider getting into their personal life too intrusive. Informing an employer of a relationship should be a decision made based by both parties involved, and not imposed. CRAs can be ineffective because even after signing the agreement, an employee may be discontent with the invasion of privacy, and according to the Human Resource Management, on their Workplace Romance Poll conducted in 2009, they found that: “ Our experience was if a company tried to forbid it, more people started dating for the thrill of it” (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). With that in mind, when employees romantically involved disagree with the policies of the contract, they will tend to act against the agreement’s policies. In order to avoid a break of the agreement, the policy must clearly identify who is protected, and explain that the contract works in favor of all three parties involved. Some human resources managers also argue that even with the terms in the contract being clearly and rigorous, that will not make the couple act professionally while at work and many other effects of workplace romance, and therefore, they classify as ineffective. The contracts become unwanted for instance, when employees disagree with such policy. They do not want to be excessively monitored. If an employee feels that the CRAs are too restrictive and that he/she is being treated unfairly, problems in morale, motivation, and productivity are likely to occur. In order to keep productivity and avoid a hostile work environment, the use of the agreement is not essential, as long as the rules of conduct in the workplace are specified.
2. How would you assess the ethical intensity of CRAs from the perspective of the employer? From the perspective of the employees in a consensual relationship? From the prospective of the employer, the CRAs are very necessary. Because on the job relationships are very likely to happen, it is good to have a policy in place to address issues that may possibly arise from on the job relationships. The agreement also protects the company from being sued by employees because of sexual harassment or favoritism, and creates a clearly understanding of properly professional workplace behavior expected, in order to maintain a good...
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