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Therefore, the participants in a truly "consensual" relationship cannot prove sexual harassment.
The difficulty for the employer is proving that the relationship was consensual.
Just know the risks." Your decision not only affects you, but other person, both your careers, and those around you.
"A word to the wise: If you take the leap, go into it with your eyes wide open," Taylor concludes.
The employer is most at risk when trying to investigate and enforce a "no dating" policy by hiring a private investigator to follow the employee around, secretly reviewing an employee's voice mail, or listening in on an employee's office phone line. Consensual Relationship Agreements As an alternative, some employers require that employees enter a "consensual relationship agreement." The agreement, signed by both employees and management, provides that the employees will not allow the relationship to interfere with or impact the work environment.
Often, an employee will argue that he or she was an unwilling participant in a relationship that merely appeared to be consensual.
Even a consensual relationship, if it goes sour, can result in unwelcome advances, stalking, or other predatory conduct.
Don't get caught up in long conversations, two-hour lunches, IMing, or emailing with your partner when you should be working on projects or preparing for meetings. Even if there are no explicit policies against it, find out how upper management feels about office romances. "Since the sensitivities of the workforce are varied and subjective, there's always a risk of offending someone.
If they're common and happen in your workplace all the time, great. One complaint to HR for PDA, showing preferential treatment, or using words of endearment in public will at the very least trigger an investigation." Go easy on flirtatious texts and emails.
The agreement also confirms and documents that the relationship is consensual and voluntary.