The end of the office affair?

The research conducted by policy management company NETconsent had further revelations. It uncovered that 50 per cent of people in senior positions surveyed had been aware of a relationship between two of their colleagues in the past, but had decided it best to turn a blind eye and not act upon this knowledge.
Dominic Saunders, operations director at NETconsent, says: “This research, as well as previous high profile cases, emphasises the importance of effective policy management and should encourage all HR managers and CEOs to make their employees aware of company policies relating to work relationships.
“Organisations have to accept that staff are going to have relationships, but cannot afford to ignore them if it is likely to be detrimental to the company.”
Interestingly, many employers are now demanding to know when their staff embark upon relationships. So adamant are they about this that “love contracts” are becoming commonplace in larger organisations. These require that, should romance blossom, bosses will be informed immediately.
But what’s the fuss about? They’re all adults aren’t they?
Well, the main reasons are to do with breaches of company policy and guarding against favouritism and jealousy. Imagine the fuss caused if a recently promoted employee revealed that she or he had been living with their boss for the past six months. Presumably the contracts also aim to minimise the effects of the fallout if it all goes horribly wrong – keeping the mud slinging to a minimum.
Gillian Dowling of HR company Croner says of such policies: “These can typically be implemented to maintain professional relationships between staff and managers, or to reduce the risk of fraud, stock losses and other types of theft.”
She continues with a warning: “However, employers who refuse a job applicant, or discipline or transfer an existing employee who has started a relationship with a colleague would, of course, have to back up their decision with genuine evidence of the risks involved, to avoid sex discrimination claims.”
So the one in six survey respondents who said that they’d been romantically involved with their boss should heed the warnings before they go ahead and commit career suicide.
And should you be lucky enough to lock eyes with a good-looking stranger over the photocopier and sparks fly, consider very carefully the very unromantic reality that an affair could cost you your job.

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