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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Practice safe office sex, use contracts

    Typically, the only contracts required for romantic relationships are the ones made at the altar. After more than 11,000 sexual harassment charges were filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2011, more workplaces started implementing “love contracts” this year, according to an article by Forbes.

    The love contract policy requires both members of the relationship to sign off that the romance is consensual and that the company’s sexual harassment policies will still be respected. The contracts are an effort by companies to reduce the number of harassment claims and hopefully limit any invalid ones.

    Think of the dullest marriage vows imaginable, multiply them by 10 and you’ve got the foundation of a corporate love contract.

    Unfortunately, not all romances can begin like Romeo and Juliet, Jack and Rose or Noah and Ally. Finding true love at a masquerade ball, on the railing of a cruise ship, or hanging from a Ferris wheel is sweet, but unrealistic. However, a chance run-in at the copy machine, break room or staff meeting seems to be one of the most popular and convenient paths to romance.

    Approximately 38 percent of employees have dated a co-worker during the course of their careers, according to a CareerBuilder.com survey published in February. Of those, 37 percent reported they had to keep their relationships secret. As much as companies try to enforce a ban on inter-office dating, nothing is more appealing than a forbidden love.

    These contracts benefit companies because they encourage honesty in the workplace instead of having employees lie about relationships that will inevitably blossom.

    At the UA “no university employee shall engage in a romantic or sexual relationship with another employee when one of those employees supervises or evaluates the other employee,” according to the UA Policy for Management of Personal Conflicts of Interest. There are no definitive rules about colleagues who are equals dating, nor are there existing love contracts for university employees. The UA administration should get with the times and implement love contracts for all employees.

    “If used correctly, they would be a positive thing because then it does not put as much liability on the manager or the business if anything in the relationship goes wrong,” said Scott Eastman, a junior studying business management and business economics, who supervises 10 student employees on campus.

    By allowing relationships, and documenting the rules, there is less room for sexual harassment in the workplace. The love contracts are a win-win solution to office romance drama. Employees get to openly date co-workers without the threat of being fired or getting a possible sexual harassment charges if the relationship ends on unfriendly terms.

    “I would be proud to sign a love contract at my workplace because I am happy to declare my relationship with my girlfriend, and if I bribe her with enough frozen yogurt she will be just as happy to sign it as well,” said Billy Distler, an elementary education junior, who is dating a colleague.

    Company officials are aware of the high number of sexual harassment claims awaiting their attention and implementing love contracts will lower that number. The UA should protect itself and its employees by offering love contracts.

    — Caroline Nachazel is a junior studying journalism and communication. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

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