The majority of larger companies are training employees the subtleties of sexual harassment. They also strictly prohibit relationships between manager and subordinates. The best policy is to make sure employees conduct themselves in a professional manner at work and if people do become involved it should be no concern of the employer. Romance in the office is happening and it is going to continue, the company has to deal with it. In a Dec. 1994 American Management Association survey of 485 managers, nearly 80% of respondents had either been aware of or were involved in an office romance.
There is a vast amount of research generated by business consultants and researchers in the office romance debate. The research can be divided into three categories: (1) empirical studies. (2) Policy analysis. (3) Advice on how to handle office romance. Empirical studies focus on how productivity is effected, either positively or negatively. Policy analysis researches how companies are attempting to cope with the situation and the opinions of senior management. Much research is directed towards the sociological aspect of the relationship inside the work setting.
This provides more insight for management and an understanding how it effects the harmony of the company. It better enables management to create policy guides lines that protect both employees and employers. Around ten years ago it was unacceptable to have office romances in most companies, and it would likely get a person fired. Managers have come to realize they can't outlaw office romance. Many companies now allow relationships among employees within certain defined limits. Statistical evidence shows that 80% of managers know of an office romance in their company and that 1/3 of all romances begin in a work setting.
In terms of outlawing the relationship, many companies see this as futile; it is like trying to outlaw the weather. Instead the romance must be managed just like any other company issue. Relationships do not necessarily mean trouble for the organization; they often add value and productivity. In today's work place employees are valuable commodities and companies must weigh the benefits and risks when creating these policies. The issue of a relationship between a superior and a subordinate is far more complex. Some companies prohibit such relationships because it may undermine company security.
Also it may impact employee morale on the basis that the subordinate in the relationship may receive preferential treatment. The situation can be handled if one of the employees is transferred to a new department . In essence so that the couple involved is no longer each other's immediate boss and subordinate. The security issue from the company's stand point hinges on the idea that couples can more easily defraud the company together than a sole individual could. Company security is an important feature of modern business, but they should not be so zealous that they encroach on employee integrity and trust.
Considering that human capital in the firm is probably the companies' most valuable asset. Some firms prohibit married people from working together. But laws in some places may prevent discrimination on the basis of marital status. A 1998 U. S. Supreme Court decision indicated what the thinking of the court was towards sexual relationships in the work place. Irrelevant of what your sexual orientation is or your relationship with another person in the company the court is edging towards a policy that insists on well-behaved employees who do their assigned jobs.
The law issue in the U. S. is ambiguous. U. S State lawsuits have varying degrees of success. For example a teacher wanted to be transferred to a school where her husband was principal. The school board refused to allow her to transfer because they did not want husband and wife working at the same school. The woman sued the school board and the court ruled that the school was discriminating against her because she was married. In another state the same situation occurred and the court ruled that the school board was justified in disallowing her from working with her husband.
In conclusion we feel that because human nature being what it is, and that the work world is changing, management must accept office romances and learn to manage it like any other company issue. Be it a sales promotion or a new technology. We do feel that relationships between a superior and a subordinate should be handled differently. An outright ban on such an affair may not be necessary. Although these relationships may be riskier, an aggressive education policy to dissuade employees from becoming involved with their boss is less discriminatory.