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Let Employees Date but Prevent Conflicts of Interest

Workplace romance is a real HR challenge. But not letting employees engage in it isn’t a realistic solution. Libido and human emotion aren’t the kind of things an employer can control. And even if you physically could, you’d probably get into trouble for interfering with employees’ personal lives.

The good news about work romance is that you can protect your legitimate interests without injecting yourself into matters of the heart. What you can and must control is not employee dating but the bad behaviour it can lead to, especially if the romance goes sour.

Ban Conflicts of Interest

Establish a policy that spells out what behaviour and actions associated with romantic relationships are not permissible. First and foremost, take steps to prevent a conflict of interest that can hurt the company. 4 things to do:

  1. Ban personal activities that conflict with an employee’s job duties and responsibilities. For example, ban an employee in a position of authority from favouring a romantic partner over a more deserving subordinate.
  2. Ban the employee from any behaviour that brings your business or its representatives or employees into disrepute or has a negative impact on it.
  3. Make it clear that employees have an obligation to notify the company of the existence of any romantic relationships they have with their colleagues to the extent the relationship creates the potential for a conflict of interest.
  4. State that violation of this policy will result in discipline.

Click here for a Model Conflict of Interest Policy you can adapt for your workplace.