Chloe is an intelligent, educated woman who worked hard to become a manager. She worked such long hours that she had no time to search for true love. So she did what many other intelligent but desperate adults do. She searched her office for Prince Charming.
He wasn’t really Prince Charming. He was Tom from the IT department. Chloe learned a great deal about him when she was assigned to co-lead a cross departmental task force with him. It began innocently with daily meetings as they organized their team.
One evening as they wrapped up another long day, Tom announced that he was starving and asked Chloe if she’d like to join him for a late dinner. Soon they were meeting for lunch and dinner. In the blink of a star-struck eye, they progressed to meeting across the kitchen table at breakfast.
When Tom went out of town on business, he had a dozen roses delivered to Chloe’s office. The office grapevine buzzed louder than a bee on a hot summer afternoon. The buzz was so intense that Patricia, the HR manager, decided to have a chat with Chloe. She reminded Chloe that the company has a non-fraternization policy, and if Chloe and Tom violated it, they could both be subject to disciplinary action. Chloe airily informed Patricia that she and Tom were just friends.
Poor Chloe forgot that in fairy tales, not everyone gets to live happily ever after. As the task force wound down, so did the romance. Tom volunteered for out-of-town business trips because he was trying to accumulate enough airline miles to vacation in Hawaii. Chloe ate leftovers alone in her kitchen.
When a workplace romance fizzles people behave badly. Chloe sniped at Tom during the weekly managers’ meeting. Tom confidentially told his closest friends that Chloe was a nut, thus ensuring the story spread through the office until it reached the ear of the CEO.
The CEO hates dealing with people problems. He tells Patricia to make it all go away.
- She can recommend that Chloe and Tom be fired for violating the non-fraternization policy.
- She can recommend that Chloe and Tom be sent for couples counseling.
- She can include the slightly disguised details in her next popular bodice-ripper novel, which she writes under a pen name.
The above office romance scenario is so common that everyone has seen it at least once. Having a non-fraternization policy is essential to managing the risks of a costly settlement when it all goes bad.
If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.
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