Does Every Organization Need a Dating Policy?


Many organizations in India have a strict workplace dating policy. Employees must notify HR immediately if they are in a relationship, and HR will take the next steps in accordance with the company's guidelines. Employers are free to legally adopt dating policies that would prohibit the dating of employees.

dating policy for employees - workplace dating policy | vector image showing couples standing in romantic mode behind has policies board.

Workplace relationships are becoming more common, and organizations need to have a clear policy about dating to keep things from getting out of hand. Many organizations in India have a strict workplace dating policy in which two members who are dating or married should not work in the same department as this would lead to a hostile environment in the organization.

When people are in a relationship and are working on the same team, there is a high probability that they would contribute to the success of the project but if they fall out of terms and are kept in the same team, then it would definitely affect their individual performances as well as the team performance. 

To avoid such situations, organizations have implemented a workplace dating policy in which employees must notify HR immediately if they are in a relationship, and HR will take the next steps in accordance with the company’s guidelines.

There are instances where workplace relationships fell out and people started fighting with their ex in the office and sometimes threatening them to continue the relationship. Employers are free to legally adopt dating policies that would prohibit the dating of employees.

The prohibition could range from preventing the couples to work together, working in the same location, etc.

There are 2 types of relationships that can happen in the workplace:

Superior-Subordinate relationship:

This is a relationship in which a supervisor is dating his/her subordinate in the organization. The supervisor would be managing the subordinate directly and this kind of relationship might lead to potential conflicts in the organization.

The relationship may either favor or affect the performance, promotions, and raises of the supervisor as well as the subordinate. If the rating and promotion opportunities are with the immediate supervisor then it may affect the subordinate positively or negatively.

If the subordinate is in a good relationship with the supervisor, then he/ she may be rewarded with a bias and this may lead to dissatisfaction among the other employees.

The other performing employees may feel that they are being treated unfairly in the organization. There are instances where the relationship ended on a very bitter note and the subordinate complained to the higher authorities of sexual harassment.

The relationship between a subordinate and supervisor may be less problematic if the supervisor is not the immediate reporting person and has indirect supervision. 

Same-level relationship:

The other type of relationship that can be seen in organizations is the same-level relationship in which employees working at the same level enter into a romantic relationship or dating.

This would affect the organizational culture as well as the work if both employees are working on the same project. Since there is less hold of one person on the other in terms of promotions and pay issues, these kinds of issues have relatively less potential for conflict.

However, most companies have a dating policy that bans employees from entering into any kind of romantic relationship or dating in the workplace to prevent the environment from turning hostile.

The relationship should be made official to HR so that the organization would take necessary steps to control the workplace friction that might arise as a result of workplace relations. 

Most Indian firms do not bar employees from entering into romantic relationships but insist on employees notifying HR of the relationship. There have been instances where employees were fired for engaging in workplace romantic relationships or dating their co-workers.

Recently, Mcdonald’s has fired its CEO for dating a junior, which violates their employee code of conduct. Earlier if employees were in a relationship or got married, one person had to leave the organization or the location.

But organizations began to employ couples thinking that it would work well as a retention strategy. If both the husband and wife are working in the same organization, employers thought that there are fewer chances that any one of them would leave the organization.

Some companies used to give dating allowance to the employees thinking that it would lead to a reduction in attrition but in a later period of time they figured that this was not the best idea to retain the employees. 

What do you think about the workplace dating policy? Tell us in the comments

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Susheel Agarwal

Namaste. I'm Abhinay Nedunuru, a Fellow of the Insurance Institute of India with a passion to make insurance simple and crisp. I write on insurance and investment. I have a passion for teaching and training in particular to insurance. I'm currently doing my PhD from IIM in Management.