Companies put into place a policy about dating in the workplace for a reason--so its employees can follow it and keep the peace amongst themselves. But sometimes your employees won't want to follow a workplace dating policy, so it's up to you to enforce it. By doing so, you will gain the respect of your colleagues and keep workplace tensions at a minimum.
Make sure you have penalties in your workplace dating policy before you attempt to enforce it. Without penalties, there will be no way to enforce your policy.
Identify a situation that goes against your workplace dating policy. Depending on the policy, this may include a boss dating a subordinate or two co-workers dating within the same department.
Hold a meeting with the human resources department to discuss what will be said during the meeting. Things may not appear to be what they are, so prepare for a variety of responses.
Meet with both parties in the alleged couple individually to talk about the policy, and then together. Ask them questions to learn the whole story. Keep in mind that some aspects of their relationship are private, so only ask about situations you need to know about.
Apply the appropriate penalties. Make sure to put a written note in each co-worker's personal files to note the incident and document the resolution. If the policy's consequence for dating is employment termination, follow through with that quickly.
Follow up. After the policy has been enforced, continue to build good relationships with your employees. Consider updating the policy if it did not work well in the case of the alleged couple. Make sure you do not judge the alleged couple for their relationship or for any workplace outbursts that may have occurred before you enforced the policy. Holding grudges will retain tension in the workplace.
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- Be fair. Most office relationships are discovered through gossip by the water cooler if they are supposed to be secret. It is important for your human resources manager to get the facts straight from the couple and not from the gossip mill.
- Failing to follow through with the policy if your employees are violating it will not be taken well by your company. If you make exceptions for one couple, you will have to make exceptions for others or else people will view you as unfair. Be sure to enforce the policy the same way every time.