Rumours that one of the staff in our organisation is having an affair with another employee is causing concern to the manager of one of the parties. Both of the individuals are married and do not work in the same area. The manager is concerned on a number of fronts: the female is at a junior grade, whereas the male is a management grade, and the amount of time the individuals spend calling in and out of each other's offices during the day. The manager feels this it is causing a disruption to other staff and it is becoming a talking point in the organisation. While the manager does not see his role as a moral guardian to either party and has no proof that an affair is taking place, all of the actions of both parties, and general rumour, indicate this is the case. Is it in order to confront the parties on the issue or how should we proceed?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 7 February 2012
Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox
Issues covered:

On one hand, office relationships are not unusual and employees have a right to a private life. On the other hand, problems can arise, including affected performance; disruption if the relationship breaks down or the behaviour becomes unwanted and/or amounts to unlawful harassment; employees alleging that the junior member of staff is receiving preferential treatment; and/or or a conflict of interest or breach of confidentiality situation.

If behaviour such as this occurs, you may have scope to consider taking disciplinary action against one or both of the employees, potentially on the grounds of conduct or performance. From the information given, however, it appears that currently this

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 02/09/2015

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox

The main content of this article was provided by Arthur Cox. Contact telephone number is +44 28 9026 2673 or email

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