Workplace Culture | Are “Love Contracts” Outdated?

Workplace Culture | Are “Love Contracts” Outdated?

Love is in the air, and workplace romances are on the rise. In a 2022 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) study, 33% of participants reported a past or current workplace relationship. It may be time to update your relationship policy. However, creating a non-invasive policy that provides clear guidance can take time and effort.

As you update or develop your policy, consider these areas:

Word choice.

A common part of a workplace relationship policy is a “love contract.” This document confirms the consensual status of a romantic relationship and confirms both parties will follow the company’s sexual harassment policy. Some employees may find this term outdated and not take it seriously. Update using modern verbiage like “relationship consent” or “consensual relationship” contract.

Employee types.

Are all relationships off limits? Or just certain relationships? Dating up and down the employee hierarchy has long been a point of concern related to favoritism and workplace harassment. Spell out those relationships that need to be flagged.

Local laws.

Various jurisdictions have employee privacy laws that restrict employer oversight. Are you able to restrict activity for remote workers?


Evaluate what makes sense for your organization. Employees may feel like this is an invasion of their privacy. And it may not make sense to limit relationships at a globally disbursed company. It is also imperative to consider your HR team’s time and availability. Do they have the bandwidth to monitor employee relationships?

Most will agree that workplace relationships will happen, regardless of the restrictions. The critical piece is identifying what formula makes sense for your organization. As an HR leader, how can you put meaningful structure in place to support workplace romantic relationships in a healthy way?

Originally featured in UBA’s April 2023 HR Elements Newsletter. 

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