Romantic Relationships at Work

Hendrix College, Human Resources
Policy # 09201
Effective: Wednesday, October 31, 2018

To establish appropriate policies for employees engaged in romantic relationships with other employees of the College, and provide clear guidance for those contemplating a relationship with a student.

Additional Authority
Responsible Party

Title IX Coordinator

1. Statement

There are inherent risks in any romantic or sexual relationship between individuals in unequal positions (such as teacher and student, supervisor and employee). These relationships may be less consensual than perceived by the individual whose position confers power. The relationship also may be viewed in different ways by each of the parties, particularly in retrospect. Furthermore, circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome may become unwelcome. Even when both parties have consented at the outset to romantic or sexual involvement, this past consent may not remove grounds for a later charge of a violation of applicable sections of the faculty/staff handbooks. The College does not wish to interfere with private choices regarding personal relationships when these relationships do not interfere with the goals and policies of the College. For the personal protection of members of this community, relationships in which power differentials are inherent (faculty-student, staff-student) are very strongly discouraged. 

Employees are cautioned that in many circumstances an imbalance of power, perceived or real, may occur in employee-student relationships.  Any romantic relationship between a student and employee of the College must be disclosed from the outset by contacting Human Resources.  It is the responsibility of the employee to disclose such a relationship.  In the event misconduct is alleged against an employee of the College for their participation in a relationship that is not disclosed to Human Resources the person adjudicating that case will not consider the claim that the relationship was consensual as a defense. Romantic relationships or conduct that have not been disclosed to HR and are alleged by a student are considered, by the College, non-consensual and investigations are only conducted to determine whether the alleged conduct was more likely than not to have occurred. 

Consensual romantic or sexual relationships in which one party maintains a direct supervisory or evaluative role over the other party are unethical. Therefore, persons with direct supervisory or evaluative responsibilities who are involved in such relationships must bring those relationships to the attention of their supervisor and Human Resources at the outset and will likely result in the necessity to remove the employee from the supervisory or evaluative responsibilities or make changes to prevent an individual from being supervised or evaluated by someone with whom they have established a consensual relationship. While no relationships are prohibited by this policy, failure to self-report such relationships to a supervisor as required can result in disciplinary action for an employee.


Date Change
10/31/2018 Initial upload