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Consensual Relationships Essay

1634 words - 7 pages

Because men and women are visual beings, physical attraction is an occurrence that happens naturally. It is difficult to avoid the varying levels of interaction between male and female counterparts within the workplace. Trying to manage human nature and the evolution of interpersonal relationships at work have a positive and negative effect on all parties involved; directly and indirectly. Relationships in general are emotional roller coasters therefore anyone choosing to engage in romance in the workplace must be made aware that they are taking a gamble. Consequently, employers attempting to permit these interactions will also be taking a risk. Implementing a Consensual Relationship ...view middle of the document...

This is especially true in organizations that do not have written HR policy on “Fraternization” in the workplace. In either case, these actions can often significantly decrease morale and productivity across the organization, serve as a potential platform for retaliation, and/or pose a liability for sexual harassment claims. Nevertheless, I believe that some type of consensual relationship agreement is a necessary evil that more employers should give serious consideration.
The use of consensual relationship agreements to regulate the conduct of employees is a tool that my future employer, Emory Hospital, should deem necessary. Most healthcare environments are prone to all 5 of the workplace romance types. Healthcare settings operate on a 24-hour continuum and the staff tends to frequently work in tight quarters at odd hours. Many staff members, working 40 plus hours per week, spend more time with their work counterparts than people of their “inner circle”. Therefore, it is very easy for romantic encounters to develop. According to “Workplace Romance” (2007), recent studies conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management indicate that about 70% of organizations do not have a formal workplace romance policy. However, those that do (e.g., IBM, Pfizer, Wal-Mart, Xerox) typically permit but discourage lateral romances and prohibit hierarchical romances. What else did the article say?
It can be argued that CRAs are a direct violation of the freedom/civil liberties of the employee and an invasion of their privacy. These agreements are extremely intrusive, and they have the potential to create more division within an organization than the peace they are designed to ensure. In essence, the agreement would enable the company to have more control of your personal life; who you interact with, how and where you interact, and to a degree, the course of events at the termination or elevation of that interaction.
I believe CRAs in my future workplace would be frowned upon by employees because it would place their personal business out on a platter for everyone to see. It is the equivalent of putting my company in the bedroom of each employee. What if the two employees did not want anyone to know about their personal relationship outside of work? What if they have created a barrier between their personal and professional lives? All of their efforts would be voided by the signing of a Consensual Relationship Agreement. Although the company may project the policy as a means of protecting all parties, these types of agreements can be viewed as just another tool utilized by big companies to control another aspect of their employees’ lives. Yet ethically, is it really any of the company’s business who their employees date as long as their production at work does not falter? Many of romantic relationships at work are successful to the extent that they often lead to a long and prosperous life of joy for the couple, up to and including marriage.
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