Personal Relationships at work, good, or a bad thing

Close Personal Relationships at work, good, or a bad thing? 

In our article today, we take a look at close personal relationships at work, whether are they a good, or a bad thing, how they can affect the Employees involved, and others around them, what to do when things go awry, and importantly how you should manage them.

Please do bear in mind our article today does not cover any type of sexual harassment, we categorically do not condone it in any way shape, or form, in this instance we would urge that this is dealt with using your internal policy and procedure and handled appropriately, should you need any assistance we are happy, and it would be our pleasure to assist.

Our article does not cover family working, for example, sibling relationships, etc, our article solely covers close personal relationships at work. Why not take a read today.


Just what could be considered a close personal relationship at work?

It is safe to say that many Employees spend a large amount of time at work, which may mean that close personal relationships can form, after all, we are only humans, over time you may experience personal friendships, and in some cases, close personal relationships amongst Employees develop.

We consider a close personal relationship at work either one that exists or forms/develops between two Employees of an intimate nature.

Similarly, it may be that the Employee works closely with a client, supplier, customer, third party, or contractor even, and this could be considered in the same way.

We advise that Employees are treated on a consistent basis.



As an Employer what should I do if I establish there is a personal relationship?

Generally, we would advise you not to be alarmed if you discover an Employee is having a close personal relationship, as we have mentioned we are all humans, and so long as you fear no wrongdoing is taking place then we would suggest that you just monitor the situation, and unless an issue crops up then you need not take any action.

We do suggest that you take some simple steps in your workplace to set a framework, that way your Employees understand the boundaries, they understand what is and importantly what is NOT acceptable behaviour, and of course, any consequences when things go wrong or do not work out, as they invariably do.

In this instance it is advisable you have a clear policy in place, here are just a couple of things to include:

  • Employees should let you know when they do embark on a close personal relationship, in particular, if it involves manager – Employee relationship
  • how you expect Employees to behave at work, you may want to exclude close contact such as kissing, physical contact, sexual contact, holding hands, altercations, and disagreements etc
  • consequences, if/when things go wrong, this may be a move of  department, job, or location, it may even lead to disciplinary action, a sanction, and the seriousness of dismissal


We can help you with policy writing or handling any given situation that may arise, just let us know.



When is a close personal relationship not considered one, how as an Employer should I decide?

Ordinarily, a close personal relationship is described above, we would advise you to act reasonably and take a look at each on a case-by-case basis.

You should consider, for example, where the Employees work in close proximity together, a small business with limited Employees, or even a department together. Perhaps this could impact your business, and or team, on the flip side as opposed to a more significant business, or department where the relationship would not make any difference whatsoever.

Notwithstanding, it is imperative as a business you must ensure that Employees behave in an appropriate, professional, and responsible manner at work and that they continue to fulfill their job duties both diligently and effectively.


As an Employer what can I do if I suspect things have/are going wrong, or the relationship is affecting work?

In the first instance it may be advisable for you to have an informal chat with both one or both Employees, should this not resolve the matter we would advise that you follow your internal policy detail, this may be that one or both Employees face disciplinary action, or in the instance of Manager – Employee relationships one of the individuals is moved.

All too often we find it is/has been the more junior Employee that has been moved, it is important to remember this may not be the most appropriate course of action, and could be an act of discrimination.

It can be a problematic matter to resolve internally, we can assist and on an impartial basis, we always advise you to seek our expert HR advice.



How can we help you?

We suggest you seek HR support, should you not have in-house HR, or you have HR and need support and chat through your options we would advise you to contact us, and we can then advise you in more detail on how to manage the situation.

We are available 365/24/7 on 0333 0069489 or [email protected]

We can assist with this, how to manage Personal Relationships at work, and policy writing in your workplace, and are looking forward to speaking with you very soon.





This article contains a general overview of information only. It does not constitute, and should not be relied upon, as legal advice. You should consult a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matter.

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This document is intended to serve as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice. The application and impact of laws can vary widely based on the specific facts involved. This document should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a HR and You Ltd Consultant or a member of our legal team.

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