Office Romances – Management, Legal Consequences, and if It Is Still a Thing

3 min read

Must read

Protect Your Business with Cloud-Native Security Approaches

No matter where you are in your hybrid cloud journey, security is a big concern. Read on to explore the best cloud-native security approaches.

The Work-From-Home Challenges and Ways to Deal with Them

Facing challenges concerning work-from-home? Read our paper to explore strategies to deal with the same along with tips to transform your workplace.

The Quick and Practical Guide to Automating Work to Drive Growth

7 Realities of Automating Work: Where to Apply Them? Read our guide to explore the answer along with tips on automating work to drive growth.

Optimizing Space and Safety for Employees in the COVID-19 Era

Returning to workplace? Read our eBook to discover how IBM TRIRIGA can help you pull off a safe return-to-work by optimizing both space and safety.
blank
Suraj
Suraj is a passionate blogger who writes for a global audience. His writings can be inspired from a myriad of topics to anything distinguishable that keeps a reader hooked. He has written for many websites and also been showcased as a guest author. Suraj lives in India right now.

Yes, the pandemic has left organizations with more pressing issues to deal with than something like office romances. 

This also brings us to the question – “Are office romances still a thing?” 

Some relationships are bound to happen and office romances are one of them. However, the switch from cubicles to remote-working and water cooler gossips to 40-minute zoom chats barely leaves a room for romantic relationships to nurture. But yes, there is a decline. The current pandemic might have slowed the traditional methodology, but office romances aren’t dead yet, and so aren’t its legal consequences. 

Lockdown might have made forming new relationships difficult, but that doesn’t mean HR leaders should forgo the laws around it. 

ALSO READ: Here’s Answers to the Most Common Returning-to-Work Questions

Office romance management

Office romances come with its own side effects. If it is between a manager and her/his subordinate, colleagues may blame the manager of favoritism. If it happens between colleagues, managers may get objective about their performance. Things get even worse when couples break up. A bad relationship history can reflect badly during team meetings and other events of collaboration, thereby making it awkward for the rest of the group. 

HRs must strive to make workplace romances a driver of growth and positivity in the organization. They can achieve this by having policies that discourage relationships where it is most likely to cause future troubles.

Legal consequences of workplace romances

HRs must be ready with answers to consequences arising out of strained office romances, such as:

  • Compensations based on mental stress, arising from harassment
  • Constructive dismissal criticism, arising from a toxic work environment
  • Grievances, arising from unionized workplaces
  • Human rights complains, arising from intentional action of torture and mental distress

Michelle McKinnon, Associate at a law firm explains, “Although an employer generally cannot prohibit romantic relationships in the workplace, or otherwise direct employees in relation to their personal relationships, an employer has a legitimate interest in managing conflicts of interest and the risks associated with sexual harassment.”

Are office romances still a thing?

Office romances were in decline even before the pandemic. In 2017, 11% of people met their partner at work. This figure was 19% in 1995. Blame it on poor work-life balance or the evolution in people’s priorities, the concept of meeting life-partners at work is slowly fading away.

Campaigns like the #MeToo movement has demonstrated how people often use power and position to harass women in the workplace. 

Another bad stain on workplace romances was given by McDonald’s last fall when they fired Steve Easterbook, Chief Executive Officer, for having an intimate relationship with a subordinate.

The pandemic may have put a halt to office romances, but not for long. Once companies go back to opening normally, eyes will meet again – maybe across the hand sanitizing station this time instead of cafeteria or copier machines. 

Having an unambiguous and clear work policy around office romances will keep both, employers and employees free from unwanted troubles. 

 

More articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest article

4 Great HRM Certification Courses to Upskill Yourself

Tired of searching for the perfect HRM certification courses for you to take up? We’ve got you covered. Read on to explore the best HRM courses.

6 Ways to Improve Your Employee Experience Digitally

Looking for ways to improve your employee experience in this remote work era? Read on to access the tips to digitally engage your employees.

5 Must-Watch Movies for Every HR Professional

Movies haven’t been solely the greatest source of entertainment, but also inspiration. There have been directors who have worked unimaginably hard to portray the...

2021 HR Predictions: Where Should Be HR’s Focus?

The key to an impactful organization is great HR architecture, which comes when you keep adapting. Every year, smart companies revise their goals and...

Here’s Answers to the Most Common Returning-to-Work Questions

We took some of the most common returning-to-work questions to our HR and law experts. Let’s jump into what they weighed in.