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When Love Gets In The Way of Business !

.............. It was once common for organisations to try and ban workplace romances for these very reasons but a considered view now would be that any outright ban on workplace relationships is likely to be considered to be in breach of article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides that persons are entitled to a right to privacy and respect for their private and family life. In addition the practicalities of enforcing a no love rule are obvious. What is more important given the inevitability of workplace love is that all employees understand what behaviours are acceptable in the workplace and particularly when there's a break up that doesn't go well. Whilst it may be difficult for employees to absolutely keep their private life separate from work, the need for professional co-operation, dignity and respect with all colleagues at all times underpins all working relationships. This wasn't the situation in the Australian case of Wilson v Ferguson which involved two co-workers whose relationship ended. The defendant posted a number of intimate photographs and videos of his former partner on social media where many of their work colleagues could see them. He ended up having his employment terminated and his former colleague and partner was awarded 48,400 Australian dollars (€30,270) in damages.

If employees understand how to manage their work place romances appropriately by not involving their colleagues unnecessarily or engaging in displays of affection in the workplace the workplace may indeed be the place to find love. Indeed one very famous couple that found love at work are Barack and Michelle Obama, who first met while working together at a law firm in Chicago in 1989 and also according to a survey carried out by a recruitment website in February 2015, 37 per cent of workers in the US said they had dated a colleague, with 30 per cent of those liaisons leading to marriage.

However at more senior levels in the organisation, employers must ensure that employees involved in decision making or management roles are discouraged from becoming involved in romances that could potentially see their roles conflicted or undermined and love getting in the way of business !

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