Love Contracts: Good or bad idea?

Legal experts weigh in on the pros and cons of actively managing employee relationships.

The #MeToo movement is causing many employers to reconsider their views and practices related to employee relationships, specifically dating relationships and the extent to which organizations—including credit unions—should take steps to monitor or manage them.

Some have asked employees to sign consensual relationship (or “love”) contracts. Others take a hands-off approach. But in this environment, where media reports seem to crop up almost daily with new allegations of inappropriate behavior, employers that previously looked the other way are now beginning to take notice, and some are changing their minds about the role they should play in overseeing the potential impacts of office romances.

Mark Kluger is founding partner of the employment law firm Kluger Healey LLC in Fairfield, New Jersey. While Kluger has worked with clients on sexual harassment issues for many years, lately he has been focused on the topic of consensual relationship contracts. He was not a fan initially, recalling that he used to brush off the idea of relationship contracts as being an ineffective tool. But more recent interactions with clients have changed his view, he says. “When I had a client make a compelling pitch to me to try using them and it worked out a few years ago, I changed my tune. I am now a believer.”

 

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