Workplace Romance

Someone recently sought guidance on how to handle a case where a senior Manager had been romantically involved with a junior staff and the two were now living together as husband and wife while still working for the company.

It is very common for people to start romantic relationships at work, after all, you spend the most part of your life at your workplace. While some of these relationships are short lived, others end up into great and happy marriages. Some companies however look at the conflict of interest that arise from such relationships because as human beings, we are naturally inclined to act in the interest of the person we are in a relationship with.

Even though there is no law in Kenya that prohibits workplace romance, most companies have policies on how to deal with such cases. There are those organizations that have no problem with it, while there are those that due to the nature of work, such relationships are not encouraged. You may argue that this is non of the company’s business, but the truth is that anything happening within the company premises is company business because in the end, such a relationship may have a positive or negative impact on the performance of the two.

You cannot lawfully dismiss from work an employee summarily for being in a romantic relationship with a colleague so company policy on this comes in handy in such instances. In large companies, one of them may be moved to a different department if they are working together or at times even transferred to a different work station. In other organizations, the two may be asked to choose by themselves which one of them would resign from the company voluntarily. There are also those companies where this really doesn’t matter and a wedding invitation from the two is highly welcome. Which ever the strategy the organization chooses to go with as above, they are all in order.

So the next time your male or female colleague winks at you and hints at a romantic relationship, confirm with your HR what your company policy on the subject is so you can know what to expect in future should the relationship blossom.


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