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Kiss and tell: why you need a workplace relationship policy

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HC Online | 06 May 2014, 11:02 AM Agree 0
Office romances are fairly common, but they have the potential to cause major problems – everything from conflicts of interest to sexual harassment complaints. Should you force canoodling co-workers to ‘fess up?
  • kevin | 06 May 2014, 12:08 PM Agree 0
    All relationships can affect perceptions and have the potential to impact, not only others but the actual formal way in which the business functions. Having been exposed to a situation where two senion mangers formed a relationship and how this became extremely toxic with one party basically assuming, if not usurping the role/accountability of the other. The outcome was that line control basically collapsed as a consequence and people were teminated on the basis of how they accepted the relationship. It is bad news all round. I think the military have the right approach when they don't object to relationships forming but when they do they separate them so they are no longer in the same "line of command".
    The interesting matter is as the article says, when does disclosure take place??
    I have great empathy and sympathy for any out there who are adversely impacted by such relationships.
  • Vera | 06 May 2014, 12:18 PM Agree 0
    Always has been and always will be a very tricky situation.
    We had a case a few years back, where a senior manager was in a relationship with a younger employee. We had to pull him up, because he was inadvertently overlooking her abilities and not advancing her career as it should, because he was so intent on ensuring that he did favour her over other employees.

    In this instance, he did disclose the relationship as soon as it became more than casual.

    In the end, she left our employment and is doing extremely well elsewhere. We lost a good employee; but it was beneficial for her in the long term.
  • Catherine Cahill | 06 May 2014, 03:15 PM Agree 0
    I would always recommend looking at the actual work outcomes, rather than making an assumption regarding any "relationship" that may exist.

    It is similar to complaining that someone "seems" be on the internet too much. The real question is whether or not that person is productive. If not, the personal internet use may explain it. If they are productive, then it doesn't matter.

    I have worked in industries which employ lots of young people - and many relationships form and dissolve; some quickly. Of course, sometimes they do not end well, and one party continues to pursue the other. This is then handled the way any other Harassment issue would be handled.

    The reality is that friendships can cause as many problems as sexual relationships. Assuming one is more of a problem than another, is probably naive.

    And assuming that a "disclosure" policy will manage any potential conflict is probably overly optimistic.
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