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It’s February, and Valentine’s day is right around the corner. As the season of love spreads through the air, cheesy “I love you” cards are stacking the shelves, social media is brimming with declarations of affection and singles everywhere, watching chick flicks, are being convinced a card will fall through their letter box any minute. However, what if that ‘secret Valentine’ were to land in your office locker? It’s true what they say, you cannot help who you fall in love with, but the question I have is: should you fall in love at work?
In a society that’s promoting diversity, inclusion and equality, as well as one that’s experiencing the rise of the #metoo movement, I find myself questioning whether the office should only be a place of work or if, in fact, it’s a place where relationships can thrive. With a study finding 65% of office workers had been involved in at least one workplace romance, it appears as if a lot of people are mixing business with pleasure, but what are the legalities of such relationships? Fudia Smartt, partner at Hine Legal, noted in an article for LexisNexis Office love stories—exploring the legality of the workplace romance that there are ‘no explicit laws governing workplace relationships in the UK’ but these relationships can ‘potentially give rise to a host of employment law issues including: sex discrimination, sexual harassment, harassment under the Protection of Harassment Act 1997, breach of contract, and unfair dismissal claims’, among others.
When I think of office romances gone wrong, the most obvious example is Br
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Hannah is one of the Future of Law blog’s digital and technical editors. She graduated from Northumbria University with a degree in History and Politics and previously freelanced for News UK, before working as a senior news editor for LexisNexis.
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