How to manage a workplace romance?

As uncomfortable or awkward this topic may be, it’s very important to address because it happens more often than we think.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner what better time to talk about managing workplace relationships than now?

“Although office relationships can lead to a ‘happily ever after’, it’s important to note that office relationships can end and lead to negative effects. So, what should employers do if the situation turns sour?” says Ramsey Aburaneh, Head of Digital Growth, at BrightHR.

First off, are romantic relationships in the workplace illegal? “Although there are no established rules or laws against romantic relationships in Canada, here are three reasons businesses may prohibit them. If it causes a real or perceived conflict of interest, if it will negatively impact the company’s business interests, or if it's in breach of an employer’s policy”, says Ramsey.

Employers need to do their part and set clear policies about workplace relationships. It’s useful to have a workplace interpersonal relationship policy in place that sets out clear, comprehensive guidelines on the company’s stance. At BrightHR business owners get access to countless downloadable policies and templates, which are created by our Canadian HR experts. Having an all-in-one HR software makes the process of adding new company policies simple, and keeps communications clear with employees so they can find all these documents in one easy-to-find place.

The workplace interpersonal relationship policy can include guidelines such as prohibiting senior and delegate relationships, requiring disclosure of relationships, or for seniors to move positions when such relationships develop.

By having employees sign and date this policy serves as evidence that they understand and acknowledge these guidelines, should any of these situations arise within the office.

Educate employees on the company’s expectations of conduct and professionalism, by including the workplace interpersonal relationship policy in the employee handbook.

“Informing employees on the contents of your Workplace Violence and Harassment Policy (which includes sexual harassment) and its correlation with workplace interpersonal relationships can reduce liability for companies should romance relationships turn sour. A clear policy will help your employees avoid or cope with any unwanted sexual advances.”


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