Love at work can mean headaches for the employer

Employers are limited in trying to prevent office romances but can take steps to protect themselves from conflict of interest and sexual harassment
By Chris Foulon
|Canadian Employment Law Today

Given the increased awareness of sexual harassment issues in the workplace along with the importance of avoiding conflict of interest situations, the issue of dealing with the potential problems surrounding office romances has become a significant concern for employers. As a result, many employers are considering formal office romance policies. While it is difficult to establish an enforceable policy that absolutely bans all office romances, it is possible to institute policies that provide a level of protection to employers and ensure office romances do not result in sexual harassment incidents or the creation of circumstances of conflict of interest.

A recent case involving employees of the City of Hamilton demonstrates how the issues of conflict of interest and harassment can stem from an office romance gone sour and the extent to which they can provide just cause for dismissal.