From longing stares to death glares, workplace romance can get quite complicated. And with as many as 58% of employees having been involved with a coworker, there’s a lot of opportunity for heartbreak and awkwardness. 

If you don’t have a workplace relationship policy in place, you should. A relationship policy helps protect both the employee and the employer, and helps you outline appropriate workplace behaviours, and procedures. We created a customizable Workplace Relationship Policy Template for you to download for free. 

Need more convincing? Here’s a roundup of workplace romance horror stories to show you why having a workplace relationship policy is important (to say the least).

Things get a bit… spicy

An employee was fired for allegedly poisoning his coworker, according to this Ask a Manager story. It’s worth a read, but here’s a quick summary:

An employee wrote to Alison Green at Ask a Manager to ask her advice on food theft. Their coworker had stolen and eaten their spicy lunch and gotten sick from the level of spice. The employee with the spicy lunch got reported to management. Although their manager considered the issue resolved since the coworker shouldn’t have eaten someone else’s food, spicy or otherwise, the original poster was brought into HR later, accused of deliberately trying to poison the coworker and fired. 

However, the (delicious) twist in the end was that the HR rep and food thief were rumoured to be in a relationship, so the HR rep was protecting their partner. They both were let go, and the original employee was offered their job back and a hefty raise. 

Poor judgment and performance

In a Refinery29 article one person wrote in about how they once dated someone from another department. This new partner would always complain about his manager, so the writer helped him get another, better job in their department. 

Related Reading: Interpersonal Relationships at Work: Here, There, and Everywhere

Shortly after, they broke up and the writer moved on to a role at a different company. However, they still hear to this day that their former partner is a terrible coworker with an awful work ethic. Love truly is blind. 

Video conference canoodling

In another Ask a Manager posting, the poster recollects how in one of their previous roles for a multinational corporation, they would have weekly global video conference calls with different managing directors for each region. 

Because the company had offices around the world, it usually meant that at least one of the managing directors had to attend the meeting in the middle of the night. As everyone got ready for the meeting in their respective conference rooms, cameras would display the conference room that had dialogue or noise. You can probably guess where this is going: A late-night “loud consensual adult activity” on a conference room table.  

The poster writes that as they “scrambled off the table and out the door, I saw things I will never unsee”. Both parties were immediately fired. 


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