Consensual Relationship Agreements Case Study

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BUS520 Assignment 1
Consensual Relationship Agreements Case Study

November 10, 2012

Consensual Relationship Agreements Case Study
Consensual workplace agreements are being adopted by some companies it response to workplace romances. I am going to argue for the use of them and also counter against their merit. There will be a discussion of the ethics involved in their use. I also plan to give an alternative to the consensual workplace agreements. There are many reasons for using Consensual Relationship Agreements in the workplace. We will examine a few of the reasons I feel are that they are valid and have merit for use. These are protection from sexual harassment lawsuits, it will allow the inevitable workplace romance between employees, it sets boundaries for behavior at the workplace and can help with the levels of relationships if one or both move into different positions in the company.

Most companies are concerned about the possibility of sexual harassment in the workplace. It is estimated that in the United States nearly 10 million workplace romances occur each year, and that nearly 40% of all employees have had one. (Pierce & Aguinis, 2009) This is of concern for the employer. Keeping the workplace romance in the open and having those involved, by signing a consensual relationship agreement, may help with a reduction of raising sexual harassment lawsuits. The agreement of the relationship may help in instances where the romance dissolves. Also if the relationship is clandestine then it could turn into one party accusing the other of duress or coercion.

Since we know that workplace romantic involvement is going to happen, then it may be better to get the benefits it offers. Workplace romance can be very positive. Moral between those involved in the romance can increase. This can yield higher levels of energy, creativity, and motivation. Productivity, cooperation, communication and teamwork can all be improved by not only those involved, but others working in the environment. (Cole, 2009) Those involved in the consensual workplace agreement may feel valued and this would have a positive effect upon their needs being met. The people involved in the relationship may not be acting in a normal manner if they are constantly wondering if what they are doing may cause a detrimental outcome to their employment.

By using a consensual relationship agreement it will help establish rules for workplace etiquette. Rules for how to act on the job can be specified in that agreement. This is not just for peer involvement but also supervisor subordinate relationships as well. Putting guidelines in the agreement may help from ethical lines at the workplace being crossed.

Consensual Relationship Agreements can also be detrimental to the workforce. It may make employees feel as if they have no privacy. They feel that their interpersonal relationships are their business. Questions may arise in how the company perceives them. Am I an asset to the company or by signing the agreement am I just a liability waiting to happen? Feelings of worth or value may be skewed.

There may be also an issue of extramarital affairs. What if one or both of the parties are involved in a marriage or long term relationship? Signing a consensual relationship agreement may be seen as an invasion of privacy. Most parties involved in these would not be willing to sign any agreement. This could have detrimental long term effects on them.

When parties are openly signing an agreement that they are involved it can lead to others in the workplace questioning favoritism. It could lead to thoughts of did they get the promotion because of the involvement. Peers may perceive preferential treatment for other coworkers. Although these feeling may occur with or without an agreement it can lead to feelings that the company is condoning the action.

One of the main reasons that companies seem to be using the agreements is for limitation of...
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