Fraternization Policy Sample

This Dating Policy Prohibits Certain Relationships Among Coworkers

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Background on Fraternization Policies

The dating or fraternization policy adopted by an organization reflects the culture of the organization. Employee oriented, forward thinking workplaces recognize that one of the places that employees meet their eventual spouse or partner is at work. Workplace friendships flow naturally into personal lives. Families become friends through their work connection.

These relationships make sense because the commonalities that coworkers share such as proximity to the workplace, shared interests, similar ages, children about the same age, the actual work and customers, and similar incomes, encourage friendships and potential romantic relationships.

With so much in common, friendships and romantic relationships are a natural outcome of the environment.

These friendships and romances can also affect the workplace positively adding to the sense of teamwork and camaraderie. Yes, relationships can also go awry and result in friction and conflict at work. People have broken up with serious romantic partners. They have turned their back on friendships. They have cheated outside of their marriages.

The key with a fraternization policy is to minimize the impact of the things that can go wrong on your workplace and maximize the powerfully positive aspects of employee relationships. You also want to identify the relationships that are forbidden because of their potential impact at work.

As with any policy, develop the policy for the good of the working relationships in a whole group of employees. Don't put a policy in place to control the behavior of a few employees whose behavior is out of line.

As a consequence of a too restrictive policy, fraternization policies that prohibit friendships and association outside of the workplace cause employees to deceive, lie and cover up. They also encourage gossip, dissatisfaction, drama, and gaming.

An employer of choice does not place employees in untenable positions.

For example, in an email, sent by a reader, a woman worried that she could no longer participate in friendships with her coworkers that she had developed over several years if she accepted a promotion.

Her company had a strict fraternization policy that affected managers and supervisors that allowed no relationships with coworkers outside of the workplace. As a person of integrity who had no intention of dumping her friends because of her promotion, she felt that her only option was to leave the company to seek promotional opportunities elsewhere.

So, she did and thus the company and the employee ended up in a lose—lose situation that could have been prevented with a less stringent fraternization policy.

Content of Fraternization Policies

A fraternization policy needs to have these components.

  • It must prohibit romantic relationships between a manager and a reporting staff member.
  • It should prohibit dating relationships between employees who are separated by two levels in the chain of command no matter the reporting relationship or department.
  • It must define the romantic and friendship behavior that is acceptable and what is not acceptable.
  • The policy must supply the potential consequences of breaking the policy.
  • It must provide courses of action that leave an employee with opportunities to understand and follow the policy.

Dating or Fraternization Sample Policy

Company employees may date, develop friendships and relationships both inside and outside of the workplace as long as the relationships do not negatively have an impact on work.

Any relationship that interferes with the company culture of teamwork, the harmonious work environment or the productivity of employees, will be addressed by applying the progressive discipline policy up to and including employment termination.

Adverse workplace behavior or behavior that affects the workplace that arises because of personal relationships will not be tolerated.

The exception to this policy relates to managers and supervisors. Anyone employed in a managerial or supervisory role needs to heed the fact that personal relationships with employees who report to him or her may be perceived as favoritism, misuse of authority, or potentially, sexual harassment.

Additionally, for the same reasons and because of the loss of employer flexibility and employee options, no employee may date another employee who is separated by more than one level in the chain of command.

For example, the manager of the marketing department may not develop a romantic relationship with any employee who reports to the level of employee in the company who reports to him or his counterparts in other departments.

Even if no improper conduct occurs, the relationship may cause gossip, hard feelings, dissatisfaction, and distraction among other employees in the workplace. The relationship may appear to other employees as an inappropriate use of position power.

Additionally, any fraternization with any employee who reports to the manager or whose terms and conditions of employment such as pay raises, promotions, and advancement are potentially affected by the manager, is prohibited.

The fraternization that is prohibited by this policy includes dating, romantic involvement, and sexual relations; close friendships are discouraged in any reporting relationship.

Consequences of Dating and Extra-marital Affairs for the Organization

A manager or supervisor who dates or becomes romantically involved with an employee creates a serious problem for the company. Dating an employee, even when the employee is not in a reporting relationship, and extramarital affairs, create serious consequences for the company.

They adversely affect the careers of both employees with regard to advancement opportunities, choices of jobs, and assignments. They adversely affect the company's flexibility and consequently, may have an impact on our service to customers. These relationships can result in charges of sexual harassment, even years later.

If a manager decides to pursue a close relationship with an employee, he or she needs to inform their manager and Human Resources immediately. The company will then decide what, if any, actions are necessary to take in regard to assignments and jobs.

Under no circumstances may a manager date, become romantically involved with, or have sexual relations with a reporting employee. And, managers should think long and hard about developing this kind of a relationship with a non-reporting employee because of the consequences noted above.

Employees who disregard this policy will receive disciplinary actions up to and including employment termination.

Your Company recognizes that employees have different definitions and understandings of what constitutes a close relationship, a friendship, or romantic involvement. Consequently, if you have questions or need further clarification, talk with your Human Resources department. Their goal of implementing policies consistently and fairly will help inform your choices.

Your Company encourages employees to develop friendships and share a spirit of teamwork and camaraderie both in the workplace and outside of work. In instituting this dating or fraternization policy,

it is not your company's goal to interfere with the development of coworker friendships and relationships. The policy identifies when these relationships are appropriate and when they are not.

The policy also dictates the actions employees need to take if a coworker relationship is deemed inappropriate from the Company's standpoint. The policy tells employees the potential consequences if the policy is violated.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided, while authoritative, is not guaranteed for accuracy and legality. The site is read by a world-wide audience and employment laws and regulations vary from state to state and country to country. Please seek legal assistance, or assistance from State, Federal, or International governmental resources, to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct for your location. This information is for guidance, ideas, and assistance.