Forbidding office romances is a breach of human rights
According to a survey legal experts from Wright Hassall, 25% of people who work together have admitted to having a romantic encounter at work! It’s no wonder why instead of spending Valentine’s Day at home, office workers are opting to work overtime!
The survey of 2,000 Brits was to discover how many have had a romantic encounter at work, and to offer advice on the potential implications a work romance carries…
The survey also revealed the following about romantic encounters at work:
- West Midlands had the highest number of people revealing they have had a romantic encounter at work (34.6%).
- 14.8% of respondents admitted to having a romantic encounter at a work party/event.
- 13% of people surveyed admitted they have had an affair with a work colleague, with 14.3% being male and 11.2% being female.
- 29.1% of those admitting to having an encounter at work were between the ages of 45 and 54, which was more than any other age group.
Tina Chander, Head of Employment Law at Wright Hassall commented on the legal and HR implications of workplace romances: “Firstly, an office romance can have implications on the productivity in the workplace, not just for the people involved, but for the wider staff too, as rumours and gossip spread, leading to wasted time and potentially complaints of favouritism being shown too. But there can be much more serious issues to come out of workplace romances too, such as sexual harassment claims, which is why it’s so important that you’re aware of any budding relationships.
“In terms of legality, it’s important to know that you can’t just stop employees from starting a relationship. To do so would be a breach of their human rights under the Human Rights Act (HRA) 1998, which guarantees employees a right to privacy and in truth, the relationship is still likely to develop away from the office without your knowledge anyway.
Instead, you need to ensure that any romances that do occur (and according to our survey, they are happening!) are doing so responsibly and that all sides are properly protected.”