Office romances can give HR heartburn

When things go well, people gossip and scrutinize and act awkward. When things go poorly...
By Uyen Vu
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 02/15/2005

At this time of year, as employees rouse from deep-winter doldrums to plan a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner or surprise their loved ones with a delivery of roses, it might seem curmudgeonly for a human resource practitioner to fret about the havoc that may yet ensue.

Curmudgeonly, perhaps, but it’s simply a fact of the HR life: office romances are trouble. Even when things go well, people gossip and scrutinize and act awkward. When things go wrong, well, anything could happen.

Former lovers may start spilling secrets and lies about each other. Teamwork situations may turn tense to the point of being intolerable. To escape the mess, people may leave for a job elsewhere. And those are just the normal outcomes, the ones that HR can leave well alone.