A broad ban could be included in the policy on “intimate behaviour” during work time, for example kissing, touching or holding hands.The employer can also require employees in a relationship to keep communications in the workplace professional, particularly electronic communications.Even if a UK employer did require employees to sign a “love contract”, an employment tribunal is likely to find the agreement to be unenforceable.Some employers may want to have a blanket ban on any form of personal relationship between work colleagues.For example, an employee might tell their partner about a meeting related to another employee, divulging confidential information about that person.Similarly, an employee would be unwise to disclose commercially sensitive information to a partner, even if they work for the same organisation.
As with any workplace policy, the rules should be applied consistently to everyone, including senior managers.
That is why many UK employers would be wary about requiring employees to sign a US-style agreement when they embark on a romance with a colleague.
The Human Rights Act comes into play if an employer is seeking to control what employees are doing outside work.
Human rights principles will not generally stretch to allow employers to place wholesale restrictions on relationships between two consenting adults.
A break-up between colleagues is perhaps the most awkward workplace relationships issue an HR professional or line manager will face.