Fraternization Policy Template

Fraternization Policy Template

This template provides a basic structure for your fraternization policy. And it works as a starting point for building your company’s policy. We highly suggest adding, changing, or rearranging content to make it your own!

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Purpose

While we don’t want to say who you can and can’t date, we want to make sure that your personal relationships don’t affect our work culture. So, this policy goes over our expectations for office friendships and romances.

Plus, we’ll clearly point out where all the boundaries are so our workplace can remain comfortable and professional for everyone.

Next : Scope >

Scope

Our fraternization policy applies to all employees (including full-time, part-time, and contractors) in consensual relationships with a coworker.

Any non-consensual relationship (especially of a romantic or intimate nature) will not be tolerated under our sexual harassment policy.

Next : What is fraternization? >

What is fraternization?

Fraternization refers to both romantic and platonic personal relationships. But in this context, it specifically refers to any relationships between coworkers – both inside and outside the office.

Note: Discussions of unionizing do not fall under our fraternization policy and are always protected by law.

Next : Our fraternization policy >

Our fraternization policy

Here at [company name], we don’t want to say who you can and can’t have a relationship with. And we acknowledge your right to choose friends and partners.

However, we have a few rules and requirements to keep these relationships from negatively impacting our work in any way.

For example, personal relationships cannot:

  • Distract from the work at hand
  • Affect collaboration in the professional setting (particularly, arguments and breakups)
  • Happen across company levels, if the relationship is romantic or intimate (such that a supervisor cannot date an individual contributor)
  • Cause potential conflicts of interest<

If you start a personal relationship, we ask that you handle it as follows to prevent potential issues:

  • Let HR know who is involved in the relationship, specifically if it is romantic or intimate
  • Keep personal conversations away from the workplace
  • Remain professional, regardless of your current relationship status with that employee (if need be, contact HR to help resolve any issues)

Please note: Discussions of unionizing are not considered fraternization and are always protected.

With that being said, we expect everyone at [company name] to respect their team member’s personal relationships – regardless of who they are with. As such, we will not tolerate any hostility, retaliation, or harassment, including any sexual “joke,” gossip, or unwelcomed comments. Should you experience or witness this behavior happen, please report it to [HR] as soon as possible.

Next : Acceptable vs. unacceptable behavior >

Acceptable vs. unacceptable behavior

As a simple rule: if you’re acting professionally, then your behavior is acceptable.

But more specifically, the following are examples of acceptable behaviors:

  • Brief discussions about non-work-related topics
  • Displays of affection on company property when it is discrete and not offensive
  • Finalizing after-work plans while on a break or at lunch (with or without other coworkers present).
  • Traveling to and from work together

Meanwhile, the following are examples of unacceptable behavior:

  • Any action that others find offensive
  • Behavior that disrupts or slows company workflow
  • Distracting other coworkers from their jobs
  • A decrease in your or your partner’s productivity

Specific actions that are not allowed include:

  • Arguing on company property during or after regular working hours
  • Excessive kissing or touching at work
  • Unnecessary talking or emailing about non-work related topics during working hours
  • Any conversations that make others feel uncomfortable (such as bragging, oversharing, etc. about your relationship)

Please note that these are not exhaustive lists, just examples. If your behavior becomes unacceptable or unprofessional, we will apply our usual [disciplinary action process] to resolve the issue. HR will handle these situations.

Next : Dating a manager >

Dating a manager

Generally speaking, you [may] date a manager whom you do not directly report to under any circumstance. However, in an attempt to avoid favoritism, potential sexual harassment, and abuse of authority, we do not [permit] any employee to date their direct manager.

Managers: If you begin dating an employee, you will need to [disclose your relationship to HR] right away. If the employee is a direct report, HR will [determine the next steps, which could include a transfer or other action].

If you are transferred because of your relationship, your pay and benefits will not be changed. You will also be protected from demotion and victimization.

Next : Married couples and long-term partnerships >

Married couples and long-term partnerships

If you are already married or in a long-term relationship, this section applies to you.

Your partner is more than welcome to apply to [company name]. And if they are the right fit for the position, we would love to have them on our team.

However, they cannot work [in your department/on your team]. And you cannot be part of the hiring process in any capacity. This could negatively impact our commitment to a fair hiring process and create a culture of favoritism.

You can, however, recommend your partner to a different department.

If we find that you hired your partner, we will transfer one of you to a different department. And disciplinary actions may be taken against anyone involved in the hiring process.

Next : Friendships at work >

Friendships at work

Chances are good you’ll naturally become friends with some of your coworkers. And we highly encourage nurturing these friendships with your peers – both inside and outside of work – because it improves trust, communication, and collaboration in the workplace.

But we do not allow friendships to negatively impact the work environment, such as:

  • Gossiping about other team members or acquaintances
  • Allowing personal disputes to disrupt the workplace
  • Forming cliques (even unintentionally) that exclude coworkers

To avoid these types of situations, we recommend that you:

  • Save personal conversations for outside of work
  • Make work your primary focus during working hours
  • Follow our company code of conduct to ensure professionalism
  • Seek help from [your manager/HR] to resolve any problems or conflict of interest
Next : Friendships with supervisors >

Friendships with supervisors

Friendships with a manager or a higher-up can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can increase trust, communication, and morale.

But, on the other hand, the lines of your professional relationship can become blurred. Friendships can confuse how the boss-employee dynamic should be, making things complicated. Such as letting bad behavior slip and playing favorites.

While we encourage a healthy relationship with your manager, we do not recommend fostering a friendship.

But our company policy does not prohibit manager-employee friendships – as long as they do not disrupt the workplace dynamic.

Next : Be open and honest >

Be open and honest

All this fraternization policy boils down to is openness. We recognize that we can’t stop you from fostering relationships with your teammates. And we don’t intend to.

All we’re trying to do is get ahead of any negative consequences personal relationships might have on our workplace. Such as gossip or resentment.

And we simply expect that everyone is open about their relationships with their colleagues. That doesn’t mean you need to share more than you’re comfortable with. But we won’t tolerate lying or actively withholding the information either.

If you have any questions about these expectations, feel free to ask [HR].

Next : Our commitment to you >

Our commitment to you

We understand that trust is a 2-way street. And that we can’t expect you to be honest if we aren’t.

So, to help hold us accountable, our company is responsible for:

  • Respecting your personal freedom and privacy
  • Enforcing this policy company-wide (including HR and senior-level managers)
  • Treating everyone fairly and equally, regardless of any protected characteristics (sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion included)
  • Taking each situation into account to come to the right decision
  • Following all local laws
  • Conducting disciplinary action when necessary

Managers are expected to follow all of the anti-discrimination guidelines when it comes to reprimanding a couple. In a situation where a homosexual and a heterosexual couple break the same rules, and no other circumstances differ, both should face the same disciplinary action.

Next : Questions? Comments? Concerns? >

Questions? Comments? Concerns?

Have a question about this policy? Reach out to [HR contact].

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