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Con Relationships

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In today’s fast paced society women and men spend nearly forty percent of their week in the workplace. Due to the time spent working together; many workers generate a common interest in one another, therefore leading to workplace romance. Many companies protect themselves and their workers with Consensual Relationship Agreements or CRA; a CRA is a written contract in which romantically involved partners acknowledge workplace policies regarding romance. The CRA is confirmation of their relationship being voluntary and consensual; ensuring that the statutes of the relationship does not affect the dynamics of the workplace ethical infrastructure. Both parties agree to abide by the employers antidiscrimination, anti-harassment, and workplace conduct policies. Many employers and employees find that CRAs can be both beneficial and detrimental in the workplace; affecting personal relationships, workplace infrastructure, and productivity. There are several benefits that CRAs provide in today’s workplace not all companies have policies in place but they are beneficial to productivity. Consensual Relationship Agreements create boundaries for workplace relationships and legally binds employees to behave in a professional manner. A majority of companies do not have any policy in place. The dynamics of the workplace was jeopardized because several people dated romantically. This caused a loss of productivity because there was nothing to ensure that favoritism didn’t occur, or that employees maintained professionalism when dating in the business environment, and to procure documentation to protect employees in cases of resentment. Most companies now have policies against supervisors and managers engaging in relationships with subordinates; the CRA will acknowledge this union and take the decision of promoting the subordinate out of the hands of the supervisor or manager he/she is involved with. Management and subordinate relationships have been known to be disruptive of key positioning and of the ethical infrastructure that ensures the equal opportunity that is guaranteed to all employees through corporate policy. The Consensual Relationship Agreement also protects the employer and employees in sexual harassment claims, by providing documented proof of consensual interaction signed between both parties. Sexual Harassment has been one of the largest issues that employers face; but the CRA gives documentation of non-professional romantic relationships which exist within the workplace; and ensures that false or conclusional claims are examined through documentation before decisions effecting personnel are made. The contract also helps to aid employees with false claims against them by providing documentation of the existence of a consensual relationship; which can point to reasons for resentment or to provide a motive to eliminate the romantically involved colleague from the workplace. The Consensual Relationship Agreement is thought of as the answer to workplace romance, it helps employers to document involvement while supporting an ongoing implementation of business ethics and equal opportunity. Consensual Relationship Agreements have proven to benefit many corporations and companies in their endeavor to manage workplace romance. Many employers and employees find the statutes and limitations of the policies set fourth by the agreement to be beneficial and pivotal in maintaining order and ensuring that the integrity of the ethical infrastructure is uncompromised. There are many who also believe that the CRA can cause just as many problems as it is known to address and solve. Those who believe that the Consensual Relationship Agreement is detrimental; support their argument by stating that the contract promotes workplace relationships, brings attention to the personal lives of employees, promotes favoritism, and also leads to more sexual harassments claims. Non-supporters of the CRA believe that the policy works against itself by offering the employees a readily available option that cannot change the outcome of human emotion, therefore leaving the employer to deal with the aftermath of the policy’s open invitation of workplace romance. Most employees fear the consequences of workplace romance because of the risk resentment and job loss due to a failed attempt at love. When the CRA contract is put into place; more employees are willing to try workplace dating with the subconscious feeling of assurance in the corporation protecting them from their romantically involved colleague in case things don’t go as planned. Many people feel that the Consensual Relationship Agreement is intrusive and unnecessary; bringing only humiliation and unwanted attention to the personal lives of workers. Workplace acknowledgement of relationships has been known to lead to altercations and rumors, most people would like to keep the details of their personal relationships outside of the workplace. The CRA also does not snub human sentiment, and does not properly enforce undeserved advancements in most cases which are direct results of favoritism or bribery. The “umbrella of assurance” is the deciding factor of an employee’s comfort level when initiating the relationship; which in turn does not affect human nature or error. The harassment, favoritism, and discriminatory nature of the human condition cannot be stopped or faltered by paper contract. The contract is believed to serve the sole purpose of protecting one of the parties represented on the contract from the negative outcome, created by the appeal of legal protection and recognition of involvement that the contract itself offers. Furthermore, the counter argument that Consensual Relationship Agreements are detrimental to the work environment leads me to conclude that companies that use CRAs generate interest in workplace romance which leads to more problems as a result of the contract.
Consensual Relationship Agreements can address, support, and deteriorate the ethical principles of corporate policy based on the outcome of the relationship on a case-by-case basis. Corporations implement CRAs with the specific task of maintaining the Organization Interest Principle which encourages employees to act on the basis of what is good for the organization or corporation. The CRA also supports the companies Equal opportunities policy which can be compromised by favoritism or bribery. The Consensual Relationship Agreement is used in hopes to support ethical behavior in the workplace, but many feel that it cannot change or account for human nature. The CRA only documents proof of relationships which can therefore point to motives in those realtionships which do not work. CRAs are not valid when based on Utilitarian or Universalistic ethical principles like those of Emmanuel Kant because they cannot support all ethical principles in every situation. All rules must apply to all employees to ensure that a policy supports equality and the ethical infrastructure of the corporation. The ethical principle is the basis for the CRA, but does not ensure the proper implementation of business ethics within the corporation due to human sentiment and the undying condition of human nature. The ethics of the CRA are usually decided by those who participate within the agreement and decide to coincide with the companies ethical stance or to selfishly operate under their own agendas. CRAs are not viewed as a necessary policy by many corporations; especially those who employ numerous employees who work on a peer level. Many companies have a sexual harassment policy which all employees must sign; eliminating most dating in the workplace. At this time this option is the only alternative for many companies who have a zero tolerance for workplace romance. Openly dating in the workplace can cause resentment, altercations, rumors, and false claims. Nevertheless, one cannot help who they may fall for and there should be another option to dating within the workplace. A confidentiality agreement would be a different option from CRAs. This agreement would eliminate everyone in upper management and keep an understanding between the two involved. A confidentiality agreement would be a written statement signed by both parties and stored for proof that there was a romantic relationship. This statement would ensure that both parties would keep the relationship private in the workplace and it would provide proof of motivate if things did not work out.
Consensual Relationship Agreements are common among many corporations addressing workplace romance. Some companies find the policy as being beneficial and others find it to be harmful to the dynamics of workplace productivity. The research has concluded that CRAs are more often a waste of time and are more intrusive then helpful. The workplace is for work not romance and if a relationship does come about it should be kept separate and should not affect professional relationships.

References

Hellriegel, D., & Slocum, J. W., Jr. (2011). Organizational behavior: 2011 custom edition (13th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.

Author Unknown. (2000).Regulating Work Place Romances. Retrieved January 22, 2012, from http://library.findlaw.com/2000/Dec/8/128619.html

Carello, J. & Shinaman, T. (2008). Love contracts in the workplace: “What’s love got to do with it?” Retrieved January 22, 2012, from http://www.nixonpeabody.com/publications_detail3.asp?ID=2181…...

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