Love is in the air with Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching. Although it can spell heartbreak if a relationship between colleagues turns sour.
It is not uncommon for romance to blossom between workmates, but if things do go wrong it can cause more than the proverbial headache for an employer.
Possible knock-on effects of the breakdown of work-based love affair can prove detrimental to the business.
The split can be acrimonious and spill over into the workplace, colleagues may get dragged into the dispute or there could be a misuse of power if one of the former couple holds a senior position.
While coming between any warring couple is never easy, any inappropriate behaviour should be dealt with in line harassment, bullying, discrimination or other relevant company policies.
Unrequited love can also spell problems for an employer. Cupid’s bow does not strike everyone, and any unwanted or inappropriate sexual advances will need to be dealt with.
Some employers have previously gone as far as to ban relationships between colleagues, although this is now thought to be rare.
Spending long periods working together means it is inevitable that love will blossom between colleagues from time to time.
To address any possible fallout from such relationships many US firms introduced ‘love contracts’ which is a document signed by the two employees to verify they have not been forced into the relationship, with the aim being to prevent any sexual harassment claims later down the line.
While this idea has not made its way to this side of the Atlantic, UK employers are introducing relationship policies.
It may appear unromantic at this time of year, but now may just be the right time to give a little bit of extra thought as to how best to handle a workplace romance.