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Romance in the Workplace - Is it Ethical?

Know your rights when it comes to an office romance | Money | The Guardian

9 Sep What's love got to do with it? Quite a lot, actually. I checked out current research on workplace romance to answer Tina Turner's proverbial question. If it's just about sex -- a dalliance, an extramarital affair or a relationship entered into with the intention of moving up the career ladder -- coworkers and. Example: An employee in a small food company said the owner repeatedly asked her out, as well as frequently kissing her on the cheek and commenting on her looks. This could be sexual harassment. Sexual harassment in the workplace is against the law. A person who sexually harasses someone else is responsible for. 11 Nov Policies & Practices: Dating in the Workplace: What are the pros and cons of a “ consensual relationship” contract? Consensual relationship contracts do not always protect against the most problematic romantic relationships. Romantic relationships most likely to cause problems for organizations are.

Having an affair with a colleague can add a dash of romance to the daily grind, or it can be lethal to your career. Just ask Paul Wolfowitz, who was pressured into resigning as president of the World Bank last month in the wake of revelations he had secured a new pay package for bank employee Shaha Riza, who also happened to be his girlfriend.

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But fear of the consequences doesn't tend to deter office Romeos and Juliets. Here six out of 10 workers in the UK have been "intimate with a colleague on a regular basis", according to a survey by careers website Monster.

As the long-hours culture tightens its grip, your job may be your best chance of finding your future life-partner.

An employer may violate an employee's right to privacy by regulating the employee's private off-work relationships. A person who sexually harasses someone else is responsible for their behaviour. Consensual Relationship Agreements As an alternative, some employers require that employees enter a "consensual relationship agreement. Given the power a supervisor wields over subordinates, it could be link difficult for the employer to establish anything to the contrary.

You may be a steely career person on the outside, but underneath you're only flesh and blood. I know my rights So how do you conduct an office romance without either you or your partner losing your jobs? The good news is that the American-led trend towards insisting employees sign "love contracts" to regulate office affairs, or even banish them altogether, has floundered in the UK, says Sally Humpage, employee relations adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

The massive level of damages awarded in US courts is the main reason American employers take source stricter line - their big fear is being dragged into a sexual harassment case after an affair breaks down, particularly one between a senior and junior colleague.

Love contracts are an attempt to get the employer off the hook, says Hannah Reed, senior employment rights officer at Laws Against Dating In The Workplace TUC.

How to Handle Dating, Sex and Romance at Work

The bad old days when people - usually women - could get fired simply for having an office romance are over. Pre-emptive strike So should you tell your boss about a workplace relationship?

She says you are unlikely to be disciplined if you are quiet about any affair. If your new lover is your line manager, is in charge of your appraisal, or is responsible for your pay or performance review, you should speak to your HR department or your manager pretty sharpish. Some reshuffling of duties may be in order if you want to avoid friction and resentment among colleagues. Wallace, who met her husband at work, says couples should protect themselves by dealing with each other on strictly professional terms.

Don't talk about your job when you get home Laws Against Dating In The Workplace, otherwise the office can become your life. Sarah Thomas not her real name a year-old NHS manager, has kept her relationship secret for almost a year.

My partner is more senior but he's not my line manager, so I don't feel obliged to tell anybody," she says. But keeping an office affair quiet is hard work. Get a room Remember to keep your affair clean. Your colleagues don't want to catch you snogging in the lift or fumbling in the stairwell, especially if they've just had their lunch. Getting physical could also put you in breach of the implied term of "good faith" that says staff conduct should act in the best interests of the company, says Sally Laughton, employment solicitor at Andersons Solicitors in Nottingham.

Holding hands or briefly kissing may be seen as inappropriate but won't justify dismissal, whereas more explicit behaviour might.

Laws Against Dating In The Workplace

If your employer overreacts to a relatively minor indiscretion you could file a claim for unfair dismissal. Same-sex workplace relationships can be particularly problematic because they alert colleagues to your sexuality and expose you to banter or worse. Sexual orientation regulations, introduced in the Equality Actmake it illegal for employers and other groups to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation, so you have plenty of legal protection.

Speak to your manager if the jibes become too much or descend into abuse. Companies are legally liable for the behaviour of their staff and could face litigation if they don't take action.

Therefore, the participants in a truly "consensual" relationship cannot prove sexual harassment. When deciding whether to impose a consensual relationship policy, and evaluating what form of policy to impose, the following are some important considerations:. Just ask Paul Wolfowitz, who was pressured into resigning as president of the World Bank last month in the wake of revelations he had secured a new pay package for bank employee Shaha Riza, who also happened to be his girlfriend. Children, family members, associates or friends are welcome for occasional, brief visits in the workplace. The agreement also confirms and documents that the relationship is consensual and voluntary.

You can survive an office affair, but don't play fast and loose with either your colleagues or your partner because that could damage your reputation and make your working life embarrassingly awkward. And finally, be proud of your relationship. For style, it may not rival Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie falling in love on the set of Mr and Mrs Smith, but it's likely to be more glamorous than John Prescott's clinches with his diary secretary Tracey Temple.

Laws Against Dating In The Workplace

Case study An office romance can cause friction at work, but the trouble really starts when the relationship breaks down, as year-old advertising executive David Shepherd not his real name discovered.

A couple of weeks after he started seeing a colleague she was transferred to his tiny department.

Workplace Romance Law

Being your new girlfriend's new boss sounds bad, and it was. Disagreements at work spilled over into our home life, and vice versa. Worse was to follow when David finished the relationship after six months. And there she was Monday morning, sitting at the desk next to mine.

Thankfully, a sympathetic boss reshuffled David and his ex away from each other, but it's not wise to bank on getting that kind of help.