Can a workplace relationship survive?

Friday July 26 2019

Alice Nankya L. Nsibuka

Alice Nankya L. Nsibuka  

By Alice Nankya L. Nsibuka

What’s your take on workplace relationships, is it okay for workmates to date or get married? What does the law say? Joan

Dear Roy,
Office romances are tricky and generally not recommended but they happen all the time. It’s always important to consider a few facts before you get involved. For instance first check the company policy on interoffice relationships. Some companies have policies against nepotism, which applies to married couples and relatives so this is something to think about early on. Often times when the relationship becomes more serious, one person might be required to look for employment elsewhere.

If for instance you got involved with someone in your department, and receive a promotion, your work relationship automatically changes to supervisor subordinate relationship. This will put you in an awkward situation when it comes to giving objective work related feedback. If for example your relationship ends badly, and your ex-lover/subordinate tells human resource you were making unwanted advances. Think about how a harassment suit will impact your career.

Nonetheless some companies have flexible policies especially if there are multiple branches where one of the partners can be transferred if the affair progresses into something serious. However, if you work for a company with no such flexibility you might have to devise ways on how to stay professional at all times.

You might have to agree with your partner on some ground rules and come up with a plan on how you will keep it professional and stay within written or unwritten rules. For instance don’t get caught up in long conversations.

Alice Nankya L. Nsibuka
HR business partner
NMG - Uganda