Misconduct & Dishonesty

Charged for office fling?

Is it a disciplinary offence for employees to engage in an office affair?

Not necessarily unless of course one of the partners is a poor performer!  There is a limit to the degree of control that an employer can exert over an employee,


and by and large, the control ends when the workday does.  Equally, where people get together, there is always an element of the birds and the bees, and many firm and wonderful relationships began at the coffee machine.

As always, it is not so much what happens, but the impact of the actions on the employer and the employment relationship that leads to disciplinary action, and relationships do have the potential to lead to abuses or undesirable outcomes.  So where there are reporting relationships, the possibility of collusion, fraud, or one party audits the work of another, such relationships can lead to difficulties.

There is no problem in the employer making this known, and having a general obligation for the parties, especially the senior one to disclose the relationship, so that steps can be taken to avoid difficulties.

In the absence of this disclosure, the actual harm that results, as well as the failure to disclose could well lead to a need for disciplinary action.  Of course, where any employee abuses his power to compel or solicit sexual favours is an absolute no-no, and is grounds for dismissal – irrespective of position!

Does your company have a policy? What does it state? Perhaps you’ve been involved in an office romance and could comment?