Dear Sir's,

I am working in a manufacturing industry as a Sr. HR Officer. I have recently come across a critical controversial issue where I require your suggestions. Its been very weird to discuss on such a topic but yes I would like to handle in a safe way. There has been a lot of heated discussion in our company about my operational boss and a lady from another department who is directly reporting to him. They are married(not with each other) and parents to one kid. This issue has been spread all around and talks are happening regarding their relationships.

I strongly feel that it is none of our business to interfere in their personal lives after office hours and suggesting them to behave in a professional ethical manner. Do you think its right to talk with them on this regard? I dont think I can talk to the boss, but I can talk to the lady. Will it be suggestable to do so? And how do I consult her regarding this. I have come across such situation for the first time and should not mess up with such a sensitive matter.

Please guide.

Thanks and regards,

From India, Bangalore
Dear YK,

You have raised a very sensitive topic but not very uncommon. The stand indicated by you is fair considering the present circumstances. But I feel there is some Home Work to be done to ensure that the company harmony is not jeopardized on a future date.

In the Indian context some family matters coming to the office is rare, but not unreal.

It is not certain how the relationship, if it is true, will affect the concerned employees or the Company in future. Going by some past experience things are likely to come up at Company level if the alleged relationship turns sour. There are other possibilities also. In my view, consider following probable developments and your company’s action plan

as a matter of preparedness.

1.0 What happens if the spouse of one the couples or both the spouses come to know of the alleged relationship and

come to your office and create a scene?

2.0 Do you have standing orders for the company? If yes, what does it say about handling such relationships? If there is

no standing order how about issuing a general confidential message to all employees as a proactive step?

3.0 Any rumour or gossip has its own ramification and needs to be ignored or considered depending on gravity of the

impact it is likely to create. For example many people in the company may be wasting their good time talking about the

alleged relationship between two employees.

4.0 Informing your superiors of what you have heard might help you personally. If everything is OK in future no problem. In

the event of any disturbance some awkward questions may come to the fore.


From India
yaa it is not a matter of concern until and unless they are not violating the rules and culture of organisation bcoz its their personal matter ..first try to find out whether it is a rumour or truth .and if it is truth then personally approach and make them understand about culture and ethics of organisation concerning ..and everything looks good within limit only .
From India, Ahmedabad
Behavioural complications cannot be ignored at work place. Its human to get into situations without realising how wrong can it get. Dealing such sensitive incidents needs utmost care.

To begin with, do not act till you have data on these rumours. No matter how close the heresy is, acting on it will land you in trouble.

At your situation, Since one of the party is senior to you, you may not have the authority to deal with it. Research on how such cases were solved so far and who solved them. Be aware of the power plays. Hence, take your time to find the trustworthy Senior HR or even Head of HR, who might agree to resolve this. Preferably, chose someone above the level of the Operational Head. Do not begin any discussion, till you are good to talk to both of them. Talking to the lady, just because she works few levels lower to your, would create mistrust. Prepare closely with the HR head, on every levels of non-adherence and its implications.

Acknowledge the personal choice to be and the dangers of creating frictions at the work place due to it. Prepare for a detailed talk on how this is affecting the workplace both in terms of culture and productivity.

Balance the responsibility held by both of them jointly. Put them in a non-reporting relationship. Stay focussed on reducing official obligations, to each other, for both of them. Such as, she should no longer be taking escalations to him. Let it be routed to other managers. He should no longer be managing her Performance Appraisals. You have to remain just to everyone. No matter how much he may assure, any ranking given by him would come under fire. Remember any manager or employee can challenge it!

Understand that you talking to them would open a tin of worms. They would lie as much as they can. Do not loose your cool. Identify the points that you want to address. Stay close on mentioning the non-adherences.

Close the meeting with both the parties signing the agenda and agreeing to the points discussed. Monitor both of them for a fixed time period.

Remain prepared to handle every grapevine, fuelled due to this. Nip the bud to every gossip with your focus on productivity and rankings. Take this as your option to build your culture stronger.

Wish you all the best !

From India, Mumbai
YK HR: Time for us all to grow up! Lets put a policy into place here about inter/intra office relationship and that, if caught, can lead to dismissal without pay, etc.
Put together a policy document, approach your Boss and mention that the organization has been speaking to you about 'some' of this happening at higher levels, etc.
Irrespective of whatever we do, lets realize that office romances are here to stay - trying to kill them will only lead to atleast one of the affected parties quitting.

From India, Mumbai
Gossip, rumor,hearsay are neither facts,nor rules nor a law......
You need to have clinching evidence before you ACT.........
Although you can appraise them about the gossip and counsel them about the ramifications..................
If they are serious about their job and career they will mend their ways at workplace.....

From India, Chandigarh
i totally agree with few of the above observations.... until you have an evidence do not try to approach either of the parties..
you might end up making a mockery of yourself on the other hand they would come up with some story that might put you in a wrong position ... somebody who cannot digest a male-female friendship..
its better to have an account of such an incidence wherein the office sanctity is questioned while asking their reaction on it..
anything else might blow up into a mess which would feed the gossip-mongers and aggravate the situation..
understand that such issues are to dealt with utmost care coz you are dealing with your valuable human resource(otherwise why did you hire them !)... if nothing else, it might adversely affect their functionality and deliverance at work.
please keep us updated about your course of action...

From India, Shimla
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From India, Bangalore
Dear YK
Is it necessary to confront any and all controversial topics?
Why cant we have more subtle approach?
Instead of talking him , her and every body else, why cant we ensure that she doesnt report to him.
This will provide some respite for time being.

From India, Mumbai
Dear YK,
First of all this is their personal matter to comment on.
Secondly if organization caught people red handed then some disciplinary action needs to be taken. We should give them first show cause notice to them to not violate the organizational rules & regulations. In case they do not mend their ways in the first cause notice then, Second show cause notice should be issued. Even if after the second show cause notice also not implemented then the harsh decision should be taken against them.

From India, Surat

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