What’s in Your Love Contract?
Dating often begins with hearts, flowers, and Valentine Day cards, but it’s been known to end with harassment, retaliation claims … even jury trials. To protect themselves against lawsuits, a growing number of law firms and other employers are asking dating co-workers to sign so-called “love contracts” that define the nature of their relationship as consensual and to restate the company’s harassment policies.
While love contracts are proliferating, they are not new. The National Law Journal reports that the idea seems to have originated nearly 10 years ago by a San Francisco law firm whose client wanted protection from claims of sexual harassment.
In honor of Valentine’s Day this week, LawyerAvenue went in search of “love contracts” and found these excerpts …
“ The undersigned have entered into a romantic relationship. Both (subordinate and manager) understand and acknowledge that neither party wants their relationship with each other to affect their jobs or the Firm in any way. So, we, the undersigned parties, agree as follows:
“We desire to engage in a personal, romantic relationship, and this personal relationship is entirely voluntary, welcome, and consensual.
“We agree we will each make every effort not to allow our personal relationship to impact our work, and agree that if despite our best efforts the Firm concludes our personal relationship has a negative impact on our work, the Firm may address such negative impact as the Firm deems appropriate, including but not limited to discipline and/or discharge of either or both of us.
“We agree not to engage in any romantic or sexual behavior in the workplace. The personal aspect of our relationship shall remain outside the workplace and work-related functions.
“(Partner) will not supervise (associate) at any time during the relationship or after the relationship if the relationship ends while we are both employed with the Firm.
“We agree that, if the relationship ends, either of us may choose to date others and that we will not react with jealousy, spite, reprisal, retaliation or in any manner that is less than professional with respect to the other person’s decisions or actions.”
What’s in your “love contract”?