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  #1  
Unread 11-06-2003, 04:38 AM
Leslie
 
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Default Non-fraternization Policies

I could have swore we've been over this before but did a search and came up with nothing.

My board asked me to write such a policy, which I did (thanks for the help Margaret!). It went to legal and my 3/4 page policy now has a three page response with 16 pages of attachments (mostly taken off the internet - shoot pay me what they make...I could have done that!)

Legal's first point? Such relationships aren't illegal! Gee, I didn't know that. #-o

In any event, I THINK the end result is Legal isn't too crazy about us enacting such a policy and prefer we go with a "'consensual relationship agreement', otherwise known as a 'love contract.'"

Do any of you utilize an official procedure or the above agreement/contract? Do they work? Are they enforceable? Or is just more mind-bending CYA paperwork that is a perennial pain in the a**?


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  #2  
Unread 11-06-2003, 05:58 AM
Parabeagle
 
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Default RE: Non-fraternization Policies

mind-bending CYA paperwork that is a perennial pain in the a** gets my vote, Leslie.

However, we do have a relatively effective policy (works for us, anyway) that does not involve killing an old-growth forest to put into practice. Basically it's covered in our Conflicts of Interest policy and merely states that supervisor/subordinate involvement, personal or romantic involvement with competitors, suppliers or coworkers may impair an employee's ability to exercise good judgment on behalf of the company and may create an actual or potential conflict of interest. In the event the company becomes aware of such consequences resulting from inappropriate relationships of this nature, the employee(s) may be subject to disciplinary action.
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  #3  
Unread 11-06-2003, 07:01 AM
marc
 
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Default RE: Non-fraternization Policies

Isn't it a crazy world where we spend so much time and energy trying to define when these types of relationships are OK while burning several billion megawatts of energy trying to manage sexual harassment issues?

Mind boggling some days.
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  #4  
Unread 11-06-2003, 07:52 AM
San Francisco
 
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Default RE: Non-fraternization Policies

Leslie, my company does have a non-fraternization policy that is limited to persons in a direct reporting relationship. Because all management at store level is responsible for the entire operations of the store, no member of management is to become involved in personal relationships with the employees he/she supervises. This helps avoid potential harassment allegations, conflicts of interest and complaints of favoritism. Like Parabeagle, we are concerned not only with romantic involvement but close personal friendships that may make it difficult for a manager to supervise that employee and/or can create allegations of favoritism by the other employees. I might add that despite this policy, not all managers who have become romantically involved are single - hence a "love contract" would be like putting our stamp of approval on it. Bottom line, such a policy may not be necessary in your company. In ours, it's a big problem at store level because the employees become very close - way to close at times.

Elizabeth
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  #5  
Unread 11-06-2003, 09:04 AM
ray a
 
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Default RE: Non-fraternization Policies

No formal policy, but my boss likes to say not all policies must be in writing. Like others, our policy is to avoid fraternization between direct reports. This includes spouses and close relatives. Only had one sticky situation where a director started dating women in his department, but there were 2 levels between them and he was warned to be careful to avoid the appearance of special treatment. He wasn't careful and he is gone.
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  #6  
Unread 11-06-2003, 09:25 AM
Leslie
 
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Default RE: Non-fraternization Policies

That's my point. Do we really need a policy or signed statements from those in a relationship situation to show we are doing everything we can to avoid quid pro quo? That's the point of these things isn't it? To show the relationship was consensual to begin with? And any problem arising from a break up is "sour grapes" so to speak?

San Francisco, I can see your problem. But if I have reports of favoritism, I wouldn't NEED a policy to look into it. What we all look for in our management staff is those who treat their subordinates as fairly and equitably as possible. When complaints come to the contrary - whether it involves a relationship or not - it needs to be checked out.

Am I making any sense at all - or does it seem I am just trying to convince myself how to talk the board out of wanting this policy?
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  #7  
Unread 11-06-2003, 09:32 AM
ray a
 
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Default RE: Non-fraternization Policies

Leslie, I think you make perfect sense. No matter how much you document, can you be sure you will cover every possible scenario? Some things just come down to common sense or doing the right thing, to use two cliches. The real issue is not two people having a relationship, the real issue is fair and equitable treatment or the the perception of fairness. As you said, anytime there is a claim of unfairness, regardless of the cause, it should be checked out and corrected as necessary.
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  #8  
Unread 11-06-2003, 09:37 AM
Parabeagle
 
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Default RE: Non-fraternization Policies

Leslie, another thing to remember is that if "common sense" and "do the right thing" were a lawyer's mantra, he/she'd make absolutely NO money. Sure your lawyer's recommendations are probably good advice - but perhaps not necessary. One thing I've learned over the years is that just because it comes in on a lawyer's letterhead does NOT necessarily mean it's in the best interests of your company - yet it's always in the best interests of the lawyer's billable hours.
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  #9  
Unread 11-06-2003, 10:04 AM
Leslie
 
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Default RE: Non-fraternization Policies

The lawyers I utilize are employed by the Tribe I work for. They don't do billable hours. I am always a little suspicious of what they have to say because they aren't employment lawyers. They are Tribal lawyers, hired to protect the sovereignty of the Nation. The 3/4 page policy in question was sitting on their table for almost 41 days - goodness sakes, the earth was flooded in less amount of time! Then it comes back to me full of internet documentation from Princeton, Duke, Vanderbilt, and the Magnum Corporation. Pray tell, just how do those relate to casino, farm, convenience store, cowboy adventures, sand, gravel and concrete operations?
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  #10  
Unread 11-06-2003, 10:26 AM
Parabeagle
 
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Default RE: Non-fraternization Policies

I don't mean to make light of your lawyers' qualifications, but you have a valid point. If they're not employment law lawyers, I suspect their advice is not the best under the circumstances. I know that I wouldn't have a real estate lawyer draft my will - nor would I have my brain operated on by a podiatrist. Seems to me the only saving grace is that you didn't have to pay for their "work."
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