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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48196
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Can my employer legally enforce a policy that forbids entering

Resolved Question:

Can my employer legally enforce a policy that forbids entering into relationships with colleagues. When I checked with my manager I was told that it would be a disciplinary matter if I asked out a colleague. Does this also mean that I would not be able to spend time with this colleague outside of work on a social basis.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?

Customer:

About 2 months

Ben Jones :

is the other person a subordinate or someone higher up?

Customer:

They are a bank worker, they are not my higher up than me and I wouldn't technically be higher up than them. Although they only work the odd weekend shifts everynow and again to cover.

Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

Ben Jones :

Blanket policies banking relationships in the workplace will not often be considered fair and reasonable and the employer needs to consider the employees’ basic rights to private life. Saying that I have seen many examples where employers have had such policies in place and they have been legal, as long as they are reasonably drafted. For example, they could ban relationships where favouritism is a potential issue, between superiors and subordinates, or with clients.


 


The problem for you here is that if you have been continuously employed at your place of work for less than 2 years then your employment rights will unfortunately be somewhat limited. Most importantly, you will not be protected against unfair dismissal. This means that your employer can dismiss you for more or less any reason, and without following a fair procedure, as long as their decision is not based on discriminatory grounds (i.e. because of gender, race, religion, age, a disability, sexual orientation, etc.) or because you were trying to assert any of your statutory rights (e.g. requesting maternity/paternity leave, etc.). None of these would apply to having a relationship with the other person, unless you were married.


 


So even if you believe the policy is unfair and too restrictive, the employer could potentially dismiss you without you being able to challenge it. It is the unfortunate position of being someone with not enough service to be able to legally challenge a potential dismissal. So consider that in the circumstances before you proceed with any relationship.

Customer:

What about in terms of adding them on social networks and spending time with them socially on a non romantic basis? Surely an employer cannot tell me not to be friends with a colleague outside of work.

Ben Jones :

No, you cannot be stopped from interacting with someone outside of work or adding them on social networking sites but they could draw inferences from that and still proceed as far as dismissal if they believe you are breaching their policy, without you being able to challenge this due to not meeting the minimum requirements on doing so

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? Thanks

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