Whilst many are thinking of roses, chocolates and romantic candlelit meals as we approach Valentine’s Day, some companies are thinking quite the opposite.
Fashion giant American Apparel have recently outlawed workplace romances, seemingly in response to inappropriate conduct by its CEO. Under the new rules a ‘romantic relationship’ includes both ‘casual dating’ and ‘committed relationships.’ Failure to report one is a disciplinary offence!
But given the amount of time we all spend at work it is little wonder that staff can fall in lust or love at the office. It is also unsurprising therefore that the fall-out of office trysts can be damaging for the workplace environment and often, sadly, for the individuals involved.
Office gossip, misuse of work emails and phones, affairs, inappropriate sexual conduct at work, sexual harassment claims, jealousy, accusations of ‘sleeping your way to the top’. They are all nasty by-products of love in the workplace that are an HR nightmare.
Good old fashioned sexism also comes into play with women staff members often coming off worse out of any office romance. Their colleagues are more likely to suspect them of using their relationships to get ahead and of being loyal to their romantic partner above all else.
So for workers who are not affected by stringent policies on workplace romance here is a handy list of things to consider. It should help reduce your personal risk if your Valentine’s love interest is a colleague.
Employers however have other things to consider namely whether this will end up in resignations or even worse, legal proceedings!
As we approach Valentine’s Day B&Q have been having slightly different thoughts. They have warned their staff to be prepared for a surge in sales and interesting requests related to the release of the film 50 Shades of Grey.
As ever just get in touch with The HR Dept for advice and guidance when it comes to dealing with office relationships. We will gladly be your office Love Doctor (although we’ll leave advice on ropes and duct tape to the team over at B&Q)!