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The chocolates and cards are now 50% off and Valentine’s Day seems a distant memory, however with lovebirds in the office love may still be in the air.

Gorvins hold a monthly HR Junction covering a variety of topics for business owners and HR professionals. In February we focused on relationships in the workplace, both romantic and otherwise.

A recent study from technology company ReportLinker has found that 15% of long-term relationships are founded at work, with 60% of people also admitting to having had an office romance at some point in their career. With this in mind it is not too much of a surprise that one third of our attendees said they had encountered issues with employees having romantic relationships within the workplace.

The issues our attendees experienced with office romances ranged from dealing with office gossip, to managing the fall-out when the relationships turned sour.

Despite this, no one believed that that staff should be compelled to tell HR when embarking on a relationship within the workplace. ‘As long as it doesn’t impact on work, employees have a right to privacy’ stated one attendee, as they would rather be kept out of their employees personal lives and trusted their staff to inform them if this ever became a problem/ conflict of interests.

The ‘Love contract’ in the US has been gaining in popularity in recent years, with businesses producing policies that require employees to inform HR of any office romance they embark on. These contracts can require employees to confirm that the relationship is consensual, voluntary and sets out the boundaries of what would constitute harassment.

‘Your there to work not to pull’ said one attendee, which brings into question, should these contracts even be necessary and should workplace relationship be completely banned?

Romantic relationships are not the only type of relationship that can affect the working environment. Sometimes through no fault of either side there is a ‘personality clash’ within the organisation. There is no one to ‘blame’ in this situation, however if this ‘clash’ is having a negative impact on commercial operations this can be some other substantial reason (“SOSR”) to justify the dismissal of an employee. Ultimately the employer would have a choice of who to keep, the retained party is usually the one with greatest commercial value within the organisation.

An employee’s dismissal can also be fair and fall under the category of SOSR in a situation where a client or customer has a ‘personality clash’ with an employee and refuses to work with them.

If you would like to find out more about our HR Junction sessions please email katie.taylor@gorvins.com

If you would like any advice on relationships in the workplace, dismissal or any other employment matter contact Amanda Isherwood, Associate Employment Solicitor by calling  0161 930 5151 or email Amanda.isherwood@gorvins.com