“It’s complicated:” Google and Facebook are revamping company dating policies

Office romance is inevitable. Co-workers often spend more time with each other than they do their own friends or family, and studies have shown that 41% of workers have dated a colleague. But in the wake of the #MeToo movement, companies are scrambling to figure out how they can keep their employees safe — and […]


February 8, 2018

Office romance is inevitable. Co-workers often spend more time with each other than they do their own friends or family, and studies have shown that 41% of workers have dated a colleague.

But in the wake of the #MeToo movement, companies are scrambling to figure out how they can keep their employees safe — and keep themselves clear of scandalous headlines.

According to the Wall Street Journal, both Facebook and Google are working on their own solutions, in the form of updated dating policies.

Policing the inevitable

Instead of outright prohibiting the act, or creating some hokey “love contract,” the tech giants have decided to put into writing some of the rules when it comes to asking out a co-worker.

The most straightforward of these rules: Employees only get ONE chance. If it’s a “no,” then that’s it, end of discussion. Move along, Casanova.

Not sure about reciprocation, or getting mixed vibes? According to Facebook’s global head of employment law, Heidi Swarts, “ambiguous” answers like “I’m busy” or “I can’t that night” also count as a “no.”

Facebook also explains their employees don’t have to report the date to HR if one is more senior than the other. BUT, if there’s a “clear conflict of interest” and the employees don’t report it, punishments will be doled out.

This seems pretty reasonable

As sexual scandals continue to be exposed across the business landscape, this precaution is building a set of standards to categorize the  shades of grey that often come with any form of communication.

Some HR reps have played devil’s advocate, explaining that strict dating policies can often feel “too invasive” to potential employee prospects, and crimp recruitment efforts.

But the rules set in place by Facebook and Google seem to be based more in common sense than some big brother oligarchy — and they’re probably a good baseline for anyone to follow.

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