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How to manage personal relationships at work

Author: Claire Birkinshaw


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  • Accept that personal relationships at work are normal and that, in many cases, they will not present a problem.
  • Put in place a policy on relationships at work that balances your employees' right to a private life against the company's right to protect its business interests.
  • Ensure that there are effective grievance and anti-harassment procedures in place so that any allegations following a failed relationship can be dealt with effectively.
  • Be aware that the dismissal of an employee for having a personal relationship at work is highly likely to be unfair, as well as possibly discriminatory on the grounds of sex, status as a married person or civil partner, or sexual orientation.
  • Take into account that it is unrealistic to place a blanket ban on personal relationships between workplace colleagues.
  • Consider guidelines covering personal relationships between employees and clients, customers, contractors or suppliers.