According to the CIPD the fifth biggest concern for HR professionals in 2018 is sexual harassment.
In the past personal relationships at work have been frowned upon as they can present distractions and in turn lead to low productivity at work and office gossip.
However, it should be no surprise that relationships form at work considering we spend a big chunk of our time there, especially as our working hours increase, the working days are longer. Therefore, companies should accept that this is norm. In most cases particularly where employers have suitable practices in place, relationships and friendships at work do not present a problem.
So, how can companies keep the risk of sexual harassment claims at bay?
- Devise a policy on personal relationships at work. This should include encouraging employees to talk to their manager, confidentiality of sensitive information, suitable alternative options where there is a conflict of interest such as the possibility of moving one employee to a different department or location.
- Make sure the Company grievance policy and/or bullying and harassment policy provides guidelines on what to do if inappropriate or unwanted behaviour occurs, normally in the event of a relationship failing and makes clear that any such behaviour is unacceptable and will have consequences.
- Provide training to managers.
If you have any questions or need advice please contact us.