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The Pitfalls of an Office Romance

January 18, 2018

Nobody wants to be a killjoy when it comes to romantic relationships, particularly an office romance,  especially with Valentines Day approaching.

People strike up relationships in all environments, places and events. As they spend a substantial amount of their waking hours at work there is no surprise that this happens in the workplace.

Lots of companies have a no “relationship at work policy” which looks fine but inevitably drives the relationship underground. Gossip increases and people spend more time speculating about who is seeing who.

office romanceIn this day and age, it is better to be sensible and up front with any office romance and establish guidelines to try to manage this delicate situation.

Somethings are a no-no e.g. a relationship between an employee and customer, supplier or contractor as this can compromise the integrity of the company.

You may consider strongly discouraging dating between supervisors and their subordinates (outright banning of these relationships might not pass legal muster). If such a relationship occurs, stipulate that the subordinate employee must be reassigned to another supervisor or department. This is clearly an issue for smaller organisations!

An office romance between a manager and a subordinate can also lead to problems both during its duration e.g. accusations of favouritism and should it break up, accusations of sexual harassment.

The best and most practicable way to handle this is to establish some guidelines which addresses this situation.

Both parties should be up front and let their workplace colleagues know about the relationship before it becomes the source of gossip.

office romanceBoth parties should accept that there are boundaries and not to engage in excessive displays of affection during working time. This will also include times when both parties attend work functions outside normal working hours.

You can also require that employees who are dating sign a legal document in which they both acknowledge that their relationship is consensual, and they are aware of your company’s sexual harassment policy. Exposure to a lawsuit by an employee who claims after a breakup that he or she was sexually harassed is one of the biggest dangers of office romance to any business.

However, don’t be a kill joy it’s great if the relationship works out. So, this Valentines Day I hope you and your employees have a romantic evening – whatever you do!

For more help in this tricky area call me on 0203 640 7748 or contact me via this link >>>



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