How workplace romances can put your business at risk

Wednesday February 14, 2018

While nobody enjoys telling Cupid where he can and can’t aim his arrow in the workplace, there are times when romance between two people may be inappropriate – such as a manager and their immediate subordinate.

Love is in the air

Although over half of Aussies have been in love at work, most of these romances fizzle out – with few turning into long-term relationships. Working long hours together can create the bond for a relationship, but how might that impact a business?

Personal arguments that every couple have can spill out into the workplace, which may leave surrounding colleagues feeling uncomfortable. This can create a stressful working environment for many.

Some of us enjoy a gossip and the relationships between co-workers can be prime subject matter, so it’s important to ensure this doesn’t go too far and reduce productivity. Malicious gossip is very corrosive to team morale and it can also start cliques and bring other problematic issues. Therefore, it’s worth making sure this doesn’t get out of control.

Tribunals and conflicts

If someone doesn’t consent to another’s advances, then a harassment claim may be raised. Sexual harassment is not love and it must be stamped out immediately. It’s the right thing to do and it can cost you tens of thousands at an employment tribunal.

Nine out of ten managers haven’t had any training on how to manage love in the workplace. And where there is a policy, almost all organisations ban relationships between supervisors and subordinates as it could create a conflict of interest and put the company at risk of a tribunal claim.

Arguments and conflicts can escalate into bullying and hostile work environments. Therefore, it’s important to have a policy that everyone understands. In turn this helps to avoid the loss of productivity and reduces staff turnover.

The HR Dept are here to help

The HR Dept can help you craft a ‘romance policy’ fit for your business. We give our clients pragmatic advice about what they can do, rather than what they can’t.

Get in touch today to avoid the problems that workplace romances can bring to your business.

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