From The Honolulu Advertiser
By Andrea Kay
If you've ever worked in an office where two people were dating and they had a spat, you may have noticed that things at the office didn't go so swell either.
In some situations, if the romance goes totally sour, one of the employees may claim sexual harassment. On the other hand, if the relationship flowers, other workers may feel slighted, even claim discrimination.
These are some of the very reasons companies ask workers to sign so-called "love contracts." These contracts outline the ground rules for entering consensual relationships, including notifying the human resource director of the relationship and agreeing that if you break up, you won't allow it to negatively affect your job performance.
Such contracts protect the employer from a sexual harassment suit. They may "incidentally provide protection for the manager or supervisor who enters into a relationship with a lower-level employee," says Calvin House, attorney with Gutierrez, Preciado & House in Pasadena, Calif., because the "lower-level employee would agree at the outset that the relationship was consensual."
The old ‘love contract.’ Jan made Michael sign an agreement not to sue the company on The Office. Michael called it a love contract. Evidently these things exist. 40 years ago a young executive just picked out someone he liked from the secretary pool and that was that. Now love contracts. It makes sense, though. As we spend more and more time in the office and have fewer opportunities to meet nice people outside the workplace, office dating is become more common. Plus our litigious society has painted a very broad gray stripe on the whole sexual harassment issue. So the logical answer: love contracts. Enjoy your corporate sanctioned love affair. Hope that the transparency of the whole thing keeps it exciting and that not sneaking around is as thrilling as sneaking around. They might as well stop having conferences in Las Vegas. Way to ruin another thing, corporate America.