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Drafting Office Relationship Contracts Protecting Employers

March 01, 2018

By: Julie M. Capell Davis Wright Tremaine LLP                        

ONCE AN EMPLOYER BECOMES AWARE OF A CONSENSUAL, romantic relationship between two employees, the human resources manager, or other equivalent professional, should meet with the employees—separately—to discuss the office relationship contract. During these meetings, the company representative should fully explain the terms of the office relationship contract to the employees and confirm that the relationship is, in fact, entirely consensual. The employer should also give the employees the opportunity to review the contract and consult with an attorney before signing it. Unlike other contracts, executing an office relationship contract will rarely involve any negotiation because it contains straightforward terms and serves overall to acknowledge the consensual nature of the relationship. Continued employment for the employees, despite their romantic relationship, is considered adequate consideration for the terms and conditions of the agreement.

Consensual Nature of the Relationship

First and foremost, the employees should acknowledge that their relationship is welcome and consensual.

 

To read the full practice note in Lexis Practice Advisor, follow this link.

 


Julie M. Capell is a partner with Davis Wright Tremaine LLP and works with companies across the country to meet their labor and employment needs. She provides strategic guidance by crafting policies and procedures that protect employers and minimize the risk of litigation. Ms. Capell regularly counsels clients and presents trainings and seminars on personnel policies, wage and hour compliance, federal and state disability laws, sexual harassment, retaliation, and reasonable accommodation of disabilities.


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