Frequently Asked Employment Questions

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Document updated/added on 10.01.2020

Topic: Company and staff handbooks

Can we introduce a policy on workplace relationships?

You're well within your rights to lay down some reasonable rules on personal relationships at work but it's unrealistic to try and ban employee relationships altogether. However, you can insist that no form of close or intimate physical contact takes place when employees are at work. Equally, a policy can set out the standards of behaviour expected from the parties if their relationship ends, which is particularly important if it's an acrimonious split. A policy should be stricter with regards to personal relationships between staff of differing seniority, e.g. a manager and a more junior employee, particularly if one reports to the other, because of the risks of preferential treatment or breaches of confidentiality, or less favourable treatment if the relationship subsequently breaks down. Tip. If your policy includes a requirement that employees declare personal relationships, make sure they can do so confidentially; they may not want it to be common knowledge yet.