The Good or Not so Good, Old Office Romance

1 min read
Office Romance

Office relationships can present a number of challenges for employers, as discovered by Mr Turnbull with his member from New England, being embroiled in such a romance.

Challenges are not just faced by parties in the relationship, but extends to how the relationship impacts on the workplace environment, both while the relationship is ongoing, and if or when it comes to an end.

In an attempt to minimise any adverse action in the workplace, are there actions that employers need to take?

In the eyes of employment law realm, there is a real tension between an employer intruding on activities of its employees when undertaken in private, and an employer seeking to protect its reputation by preventing outside of work conduct interfering with the workplace. The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has restricted the employer’s ability to terminate employment contracts for conduct outside of work. Dismissal for such conduct is restricted to conduct that is likely to cause serious damage to the employment relationship between the employer and employee.

Therefore, a consensual workplace relationship may not, in itself be grounds for dismissal. Recent cases highlight that relationships, or sexual conduct, between employees has the potential to undermine the employment relationship and therefore be grounds for dismissal.

What should employers do to minimise any adverse effect these relationships may have on the workplace.

In the context of the Sexual Discrimination Act, the protection for employers is focused on taking reasonable steps. This will involve steps such as well communicated policies and complaint handling processes, and warnings given to employees about the consequences of offending conduct.

Furthermore, employers should focus on the removal of conflicts of interest and any abuse of power, rather than a purely defensive mechanism giving a total ban on employee relationships. Senior staff engaging in a relationship with junior staff should be treated with greater care than a relationship between junior staff.

Finally, this potentially means, the most effective tool is to disclose, so that employers can manage any issues on a case by case basis.

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Picture of Authored By<br>Nathan Nevell

Authored By
Nathan Nevell

Director Lawyer, PBL Law Group

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Anita Bradley has been an absolute dream to deal with. Anita's conveyancing skills and knowledge knows absolutely no boundaries along with her effective communication skills which has made selling and buying a completely stress free exchange for us. We recommend PBL Law to everyone looking for outstanding service. We will definitely be returning clients.
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PBL Law Group were fantastic. Anita from PBL worked with us closely during our property search and made the exchange and settlement process smooth and stress free. Highly recommended.
Gail Whitford
PBL handled my late mothers estate, they were very obliging and patient with any and all questions that we had, thank you to David , Sharon and the other staff that we dealt with, everyone was so easy to talk to and friendly .David came to the home where my Mother was living and helped her to get her will in order, Sharon helped us through the process of executing her wishes when the time came even doing a house call which was so much easier, thank you all so much
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I have experienced an excellent service from PBL (especially from Anita) during the sale of my recent property on Central Coast, and during the purchase of our current property in Sydney. Throughout many challengers, especially with the sale, Anita presented her very professional and knowledgeable conveyancer, positively solving all obstacles. "Above and Beyond" Award going to Anita!!! :-)
Amanda Reitzin
The five-star reviews are well-deserved. I needed a motion and a bylaw drawn up for urgent repairs of my strata unit and the AGM was in two weeks' time. My solicitor was friendly, efficient, knew what documents to ask for, and had all the paperwork prepared well within the timeframe. She also took the time to run through all the legalese and the different possible scenarios with me to make sure I understood. I am so glad to have found this firm and I will not hesitate to use their services again in future if the need arises.
Ricky Cooper
Anita is amazing! So attentive, approachable and communicates everything every step of the way. I have now bought and sold property with Anita and I cannot recommend her highly enough.
Ron Thomsen
Our Commercial Property conveyancing was handled very professionally. Anita’s experience and responsiveness was an asset in this transaction.
Trace M
I am so grateful for Anita Bradley from PBL Law Group helped me with this property settlement, she has went above beyond to ensure I understand everything because of our deafness. I will recommended Anita or their team. Thank you so much for all the hard work you have done for us.
Tricia Wheatstone
For almost 18 months I have been a client of Alex Ilkin. Alex is very knowledgeable and professional and has consistently provided me with thorough, honest and well set out advice, including steering my case through appeal proceedings. He always worked for my best interests with integrity and compassion. I recommend Alex and his team at PBL.