Vital components of a Fraternization Policy
- Prohibit romantic relationships between a manager and a reporting staff member.
- Prohibit dating relationships between employees who are separated by two levels in the chain of command, regardless of the reporting relationship or department.
- Define the romantic and friendship behaviour that is acceptable and what is not acceptable.
- State the potential consequences of breaking the policy.
- Provide courses of action that leave an employee with opportunities to understand and follow the policy.
The aim of the fraternization policy is to minimize the impact of things that can go wrong due to romantic relationships in the workplace while maximizing the powerfully positive aspects of employee relationships.
This policy also covers guidelines for friendships that get developed between employees. Though friendships allow for a more collaborative environment, they might also occasionally create cliques and fragmentation inside departments.
Fraternization can include romantic relations between managers and subordinates and relationships between co-workers.
This policy applies to all our employees, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, department, and seniority. For the purposes of this policy, “dating” includes consensual romantic relationships and sexual relations. Non-consensual relationships constitute sexual harassment and we prohibit them explicitly.
Fraternization policy is enforced by the management and HR department.
Friendship among employees
When colleagues work together over days and months on the same project and in the same team, they naturally form friendships either in or out of their workplace. For a healthy working atmosphere, we encourage friendship between peers, as it can help employees communicate, collaborate and preserve harmony while working. However, one has to draw a line between an acceptable friendship and an unacceptable relationship.
Meeting up with co-workers and managers outside of work for a drink or dinner does not cross the line into fraternization unless it results in favouritism or leads to inappropriate romantic relationships. Employees must discuss non-work related issues outside of the workplace and ask for their managers or HR’s help when they are unable to resolve an issue or conflict of interest with each other. Employees are expected to focus on their work instead of their friendship while at the office and follow our Code of Conduct and act professionally at all times.
Dating in the workplace
Acceptable and unacceptable Behaviour
When two employees within an organization are in a relationship, they should behave appropriately in the workplace.
- Passing by their partner’s workplace and stop to talk to them for non-work reasons for a short time.
- Displaying affection discreetly and infrequently while on company premises.
- Discussing their plans as a couple during breaks or lunch hours.
- Coming to and leaving from work together.
- Public display of affection that offends other employees.
- Behaviour that disrupts or hinders the company’s operations and istracts employees from their duties.
- Arguing in the workplace during or after working hours.
- Kissing or touching inappropriately in front of colleagues.
- Exchanging an excessive number of instant messages or calls unrelated to their work during working hours.
- Making their colleagues uncomfortable by talking or boasting about the relationship during working hours.
Employees are also obliged to behave appropriately towards their colleagues who date each other. We do not support victimization and hostility towards dating employees for any reason. Employees must refrain from indulging in sharing sexual jokes, gossip and improper comments on colleagues who date each other. Employees who witness this kind of behaviour should report it to HR.
Employees who exhibit unacceptable behaviour will face disciplinary action up to and including termination in cases of repeated violations. HR will determine the appropriate penalties and course of action.
Managers are prohibited from dating employees who report to them. This restriction extends to every manager within two levels above an employee, regardless of team or department to facilitate moving or promoting employees.
Supervisors are also forbidden from dating their direct reports. Managers entering into a consenting relationship with an employee from another team or department are out of the policy’s scope. However, in such instances, managers must inform HR as soon as possible about any such relationship. If the manager fails to inform the HR, disciplinary action can be provoked if and when the relationship is discovered. HR will evaluate the situation and act accordingly.
A manager of a team is not allowed to hire their partner for open roles as this might bring about the issue of favouritism in the hiring process. However, managers are allowed to refer their partners for employment to other teams or departments for which they don’t have any managerial or hiring authority.
If it is disclosed that a hiring manager hired their partner, then HR may move one of them to another team or branch where there would be no clash of interest. The hiring manager will receive a reprimand, as the hiring decision may have compromised the company’s commitment to equal opportunity and avoiding favouritism.