Valentine’s Day can often be seen as a bit of light-hearted fun but what if an employee feels uncomfortable with one of their colleague’s advances in the workplace? As an employer, you must take any complaints seriously and act swiftly to avoid any potential sexual harassment claims.
Given the amount of time we all spend at work, it is not surprising that a large number of relationships start up at work. If feelings are mutual and a relationship begins, what can you do to protect your business in case of possible conflicts of interest?
1. Do you ban relationships altogether or simply require them to be disclosed?
2. Should employees in a relationship work in different departments or perhaps report to a different manager?
3. Are any of your managers currently in a relationship with one of their direct reports? Could this lead to favouritism in promotion or performance reviews? You need to ensure that resentment does not build amongst colleagues.
4. What if one partner has to spend a lot of time with a particular client and their partner gets jealous? Can you take the risk that any conflict between the pair could be detrimental to the business and ruin the company’s reputation?
Everyone is entitled to a private life even at work, as outlined in the Human Rights Act 1998, and having a relationship at work should not be a sacking offence. It is important to consider all of the above points and to ensure that you have a clear and up to date “Harassment Policy” and you may consider introducing a “Relationships in the Workplace” policy to all staff.
For advice or assistance in developing your Company policies or procedures, please contact us on 0161 478 3800, or alternatively email us on: firstname.lastname@example.org.