Love has always had its consequences, and there are more than you might realize when it strikes in an office setting. Pretending that you don’t know what’s going on is a decision you’re likely to regret if things go badly between the co-workers.
So, what do you do if Cupid strikes two of your employees? There are consequences for the company, particularly if the relationship is between a manager and a subordinate.
Conflict of interest also exists when there is a consensual romantic or sexual relationship in the context of employment supervision or evaluation.
Therefore, no supervisor may influence, directly or indirectly, salary, promotion, performance appraisals, work assignments or other working conditions for an employee with whom such a relationship exists.
In a recent Career survey, 39 percent of respondents said they’d dated a co-worker .
In fact, it’s practically inevitable that, sooner or later, two of your employees will get together and start a relationship.
Although both employees involved in a consensual relationship are individually responsible for disclosure, a supervisor's failure to report such a relationship will be regarded as a serious lapse in the management of the workplace and grounds for appropriate disciplinary action, including termination (particularly in cases where bias or harassment has occurred in connection with a benefit).“By turning a blind eye, the owner not only could be unaware of potential sexual harassment and a resulting lawsuit, but could be accused of willful ignorance, thus exacerbating the harm to the subordinate and the resulting injury award,” warns David Scher, principal attorney for the Employment Law Group.There is an inherent conflict between coherent office management and sexual relations.Sex is generally considered a private topic, and romance has its own potential for drama, Scher says.“Co-workers must work together effectively, and it takes a high level of maturity to manage both a sexual/romantic and a work relationship simultaneously.All employees must complete the Annual Disclosure and Certification Form.The supervisor should review the disclosure form with the employee and confirm that no potential for conflict of interest exists.(If the couple has made their relationship public then you can talk to them about the issue together as a couple, if the couple is obviously interested in each other, but has not made their relationship public, talk to them separately.) “Start the conversation by sharing your good intentions.The last thing you want to do is make the office lovebirds feel like you are attacking or blaming them.Create safety by letting them know you have their best interest in mind,” Grenny says. Describe the situation using tentative terms and what you think the couple is doing, not what you’ve concluded. Don’t air a list of gripes; address one issue at a time.End by expressing your concern and thanks, Grenny says.