Jack supervises Jill. Jack starts dating Jill. Does HR really need to get involved?
It depends, according to a study by the Society for Human Resource Managment. Some firms expect HR to referee the situation, while others say, “It’s none of our business.”
Here are the numbers from the study of responses by 493 HR managers:
- 28% said their employers expected them to enforce strict policies on workplace romances — meaning, of course, that 72% don’t have policies.
- Of those who had policies, 80% said the rules included restrictions on relationships between supervisors and subordinates.
- 39% of those who had policies said supervisors were required to report relationships with subordinates to managers or HR.
Various companies have their own wrinkles on relationship policies. For instance, some firms don’t apply the policy if the subordinate is at least two levels removed from the supervisor. That is, it’s OK if the supervisor supervises the subordinate’s supervisor. And Southwest Airlines is one of the companies that encourage employees to disclose boss/subordinate relationships so that the company can transfer people or rearrange duties to avoid conflicts and charges of favoritism.