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HR tip: Workplace affairs

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These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.


Question:

"Can we stop people having affairs at work? We think that one of our supervisors is having an affair with a married woman."

HR tip:

Generally speaking you should not moralise but take action only if the relationship is affecting work, for example if they are sneaking off together during working hours, if their work is suffering or if they are behaving improperly in the workplace. You should speak to them and point out the work problems and, if that fails to resolve the matter, take appropriate disciplinary action.

You may feel it appropriate to have one or both of them transfer to other sections. If you transfer just one of them, however, do not automatically go for the woman otherwise you may be found guilty of sex discrimination. Choose the one whom it is easier to redeploy and record your reasoning.

You have a greater problem if one of the parties is responsible for the other. Most reasonable people would expect this to result in favouritism, albeit unconscious. If they persist in the relationship, you really do need to move one of them.

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