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Love is in the air… but is it toxic?

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HC Online | 16 Feb 2015, 08:17 AM Agree 0
Studies show that a third of workers have dated a colleague – but this HR manager says office romances can prove incredibly costly.
  • Catherine Cahill | 16 Feb 2015, 01:02 PM Agree 0
    It is my understanding that in Australia it would be unlawful to terminate an employee because of an office romance. So the last piece of advice from our American colleague needs to be viewed in the context of our own legislation.

    Even if it was not unlawful to terminate employees for becoming romantically involved, in every organisation many employees form very strong social bonds with each other - romantic or not. This is simply part of the workplace environment.

    I worked in one particular organisation where workplace romances were rife, because the staff worked unsociable hours and ended up spending most of their down time with each other.

    I navigated a number of Harassment claims and Bullying claims when relationships turned sour. Although these matters were not simple, basic rules could be drawn up and agreed to for behaviour between the ex lovers.

    I also openly addressed staff during Bullying and Harassment training regarding what was, and what was not acceptable behaviour in the workplace.

    For the most part though - the very strong friendships bonds forged in this organisation enhanced the culture of the company. I would not trade that off, for an attempt to remove the potential downsides of the odd romance gone wrong.

    We had a number of marriages and quite a few babies - and this added to the culture of the organisation.
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