Dr. Ronnie Jones
Bus. 520 Leadership and Organizational Behavior
Fall Quarter 2012
It is not uncommon that an office romance will develop between co-workers; based on the fact that majority of their lifetime is spent at their place of employment. Employers are aware of this possibility and have workplace romance policies to protect themselves and the parties in the relationship. Consensual Relationship Agreements (CRAs) are one of the policies that protect the company and the parties involved from the outcome of the relationship ending that could result into sexual harassment claims or bad publicity. There are pros and cons to having these policies and procedures for protection of employers and employees.
Consensual Relationship Agreements Case Study
Eighty percent of an individual’s life is spent at their place of employment, sometimes even more. Usually they are in the presence of their co-workers at a minimum of 40 hours a week, learning, growing and building relationships. It is a strong possibility that one could turn into a romantic one. Hellriegel and Solcum (2011) stated that Valut.com, an online career center, surveyed 1000 professionals about having a romantic relationship with a co-worker, with the results of 19% would consider having one and 47% had been involved in one. The relationship may start out rosy but circumstances could change the dynamics between the two that could affect their work and the workplace environment. Employers must protect their businesses as well as maintain a productive, comfortable work environment as this “issue is not going away” (Hellriegel & Solcum, 2011).
In order to protect themselves from possible claims of sexual harassment, disruptions in employee morale and conflict that can potentially result from a romantic relationship, employers may have employees sign a Consensual Relationship Agreement (CRA) once a relationship has begun. If they do not require employees to sign a CRA, they should have some type of workplace romance policy created and implemented. Either solution to deal with romance at the workplace can be made a condition that must be accepted upon employment, but they both have pros and cons with them. The Use of Consensual Relationship Agreements (CRAs) in the Workplace Workplace romance has increased in the last 50 years (Goudreau, 2012). With this increase, it can cause a disruption in the work environment, such as lost productivity, lower employee morale, sexual harassment claims, and accusations of favoritism. With the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal, employers feared that relationships between a manager/executive and subordinate would open them up to ligations if the relationships turned sour as well as generate bad publicity. These concerns lead to the implementation of consensual relationship agreements (CRAs) or ‘love contracts.' According to Bloomberg Business Library (2007), a CRA is an agreement signed by employer and employees confirming that a romantic or sexual relationship between employees is voluntary and consensual.
This is an excellent solution to help elevate the possibility of a sexual harassment claim being filed by an angry, hurt party of the dissolved relationship. Not only does the agreement states that the relationship is consensual and voluntary between the two parties, but it also acknowledges that they are aware of and agree with the company’s sexual harassment policy. The CRA also prohibits certain behavior that is not appropriate for the office and assures that the relationship will not interfere with job performance (“Hooking Up”, 2008, para. 2). The agreement also states that the parties involved will notify the company representative/human resource personnel of any violations of the company’s sexual harassment policy as well as agree that the relationship can be ended at any time without any retaliation of any form, especially...