In many organizations, there have been instances of workplace romances as well as sexual harassment cases. As far as workplace romances are concerned, it refers to a situation in which two employees from the same organization are involved in a relationship. In some cases, romantic relationships usually cross the line and turn to sexual harassment. One form of sexual harassment that is common in most workplace is the use of text. With the rise of various social media sites, sexual harassment in form texting has been a feature in many organizations. As a result of textual harassment, many organizations have faced legal consequences not forgetting the number of employees losing their jobs. In their article "Sexual harassment versus workplace romance: Social media spillover and textual harassment in the workplace," Lisa Mainiero and Kevin Jones examine the implications from a legal perspective as well as social media platform the connection that employees have. In addition to the connectivity, they also provide a definition of textual harassment to the various stakeholders. To effectively define the parameters, firms should adopt the relevant social media and sexual harassment policies.
To begin with, various surveys on workplace romances have been provided so as to provide a deeper understanding of how it affects organizations. Surveys provide some insight into workplace romances in terms of the number of instances it has occurred not forgetting the reasons behind workplace romances. According to Mainiero and Jones, "surveys to examine the workplace dynamics of workplace romance, which has been hypothesized to affect motivation, job security, workplace morale, and performance (188)." Mainiero and Jones go further to find a connection between workplace romance and social media. From their findings, increasing numbers of workplace romances have been made possible partly due to the increasing use of social media among employees in organizations. As much as social media and workplace romances have been increasing, the resultant impact is the increase in sexual harassment cases. From their point of view, workplace relationships which go beyond the normal workplace environment have the potential of escalating and become sexual harassment. This has been the main cause of the increasing number of sexual harassment cases throughout the years. Sexual harassment, in this case, can have two definitions; threats made that influence workplace decision such as hiring and promotions as well as habits of a sexual nature that interferes with an employee's performance at work. Among the forms in which sexual harassment take is through textual harassment. Textual harassment makes use of sending text messages that may be regarded as being offensive to the recipient. The text messages normally include messages that are salacious in nature as well as sending inappropriate photos.
Mainiero and Jones go further to examine the various sexual harassment cases in different years from the year 1974 where the first sexual harassment case was determined. As years passed by, sexual harassment cases have continued to be witnessed. As a measure of curbing increasing numbers of sexual harassment cases, Mainiero and Jones propose various workplace policies that aim at social media, sexual harassment, textual harassment, and workplace romances. Various proposals have been put in place that includes training of relevant human resource personnel to have vast knowledge on sexual harassment and diversifying policies to include social media policies, and how to monitor various social media platforms in the workplace. Examples have been given of various companies and their policies regarding using social media platforms. These policies are meant to have some restrictive measures on using social media in the workplace. On the contrary, love contracts have been proposed as a way of reducing sexual harassment. Love contracts, in this case, are viewed as a measure of regulating workplace romances and sexual harassment. Among the reasons for the use of love contract is to minimize the rise in court cases relating to sexual harassment. Love contracts are meant to be an addition to the policies put in place regarding social media use and sexual harassment.
Examining the article, there are various points of discussions that have been stated clearly and accompanied by valid sources. There are various sources backing up the claim on workplace romances and sexual harassment. At the beginning of the article, Mainiero and Jones identified the increasing number of workplace romance incidents based on surveys. Surveys were conducted by competent and well-known survey companies enhancing the quality of proof provided. Together with the use of surveys, various court cases and policies selected from different companies have been used to demonstrate various aspects of sexual harassment and social media policy. The court cases indicate the different cases that have been decided in the United States regarding sexual harassment. The cases go as early as 1974 where the first sexual harassment case was heard. Social media policies presented are ways in which different companies have tried to regulate social media in the workplace. The examples provided by Mainiero and Jones provide first-hand information on the policies used in some companies.
According to Mainiero and Jones, love contracts are key to ensure that sexual harassment cases are reduced. Love contracts provide guidelines on how workplace romances should be and provide some limitation to relations at the workplace. Love contracts act as regulations to workplace romances as they reduce the legal consequences when sexual harassment claims arise. Love contracts provide details on the use of social media and policies regarding texting as a means of communication. As much as this may be the case, love contracts and workplace romances should be prohibited altogether. Love contracts tend to give organizations an upper hand when it comes to litigation. However, employee performance as a result of the rising number of workplace romances is greatly affected. Claims have been laid to support the notion that the workplace should be preserved only for work-related matters and not romantic relationships (Silverband 157). The main reason for this notion is the fact that romantic relations tend to distract the employees from their day to day activities thus affecting their efficiency and productively at work. With the issue of workplace contracts in mind, strict measures must be in place to ensure that they are restricted.
Inconclusively, instances of workplace romances in organizations have been increasing. The main factor contributing to the increase in workplace romance cases is social media. However, some cases of workplace romance do not go well and sexual harassment arises. In order to ensure that sexual harassment cases are well regulated, organizations have set up policies that regulate social media use in organizations as well as policies that define the parameters of what should be done and what should be done in workplace romances so as not to amount to sexual harassment. Despite the fact that love contracts have been proposed as one of the measures, in some cases they lead to inefficiency in the workers. Moving forward, measures should be in place to prohibit or restrict workplace romances.
Mainiero, Lisa A., and Kevin J. Jones. "Sexual Harassment Versus Workplace Romance: Social Media Spillover and Textual Harassment in the Workplace." Academy of Management Perspectives, vol. 27, no. 3, 2012, pp.187-203.
Silverbrand, Ian J. "Workplace Romance and the Economic Duress of Love Contract Policies." Villanova Law Review, vol. 54, no. 1, 2009, pp.155-179.
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