So the saying goes, love knows no boundaries, and consequently it may be questionable whether a blanket ban on employee relationships will have the desired effect. It is more likely to breed resentment and covert activity. Nonetheless employee relationships can cause HR a headache especially when the employees concerned is in a direct reporting relationship needing to undertake pay reviews or appraisals or where one of the employees concerned handles sensitive company information as part of his or her role.
HR may be wise to introduce a familial and employee relationships policy into staff handbooks. The policy could make it clear that employees should not allow any personal relationship to influence their conduct at work; prohibit intimate behaviour at work; and provide for situations where employees in a direct reporting relationship are moved away from that situation if possible.
Care should always be taken, however, to ensure that any such policy is drafted and implemented in a way to ensure that it complies with the Equality Act 2010 – remembering that it is unlawful to discriminate against employees because of the protected characteristic of marriage and civil partnerships, should the relationship have developed to this stage.
Employers are unlikely, and perhaps should not strive, to ban cupid from the office altogether, but the impact of his bow and arrow on the business can be limited by a little proactive thinking at an early stage!