Issue ‘workplace romance’ rules, DOLE urged

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A GROUP called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to issue guidelines on workplace romance to prevent employers from using it as a ground for demoting, transferring or firing workers.

There is no government policy that prevents an employee from having a romantic relationship with his/her superiors and vice versa, according to Alan Tanjusay, Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) spokesperson.

“Since there is no government policy governing workplace romance between co-employees or between a rank-and-file employee falling in love with her boss or vice versa for that matter, the matter of workplace romance issue is controlled by company’s management prerogative. And some employers use or create such prerogative to lay off, demote, or transfer their employees,” Tanjusay said in a statement Tuesday.

“The law is vague and subject to many interpretations. Therefore, many employers tend to demote, transfer, or lay off their employee on the basis of having a relationship with their boss or with their co-employee – particularly those who are not unionized,” Tanjusay said.

In its policy engagement with the DOLE, the ALU-TUCP maintains that company policy should allow, not prevent, workplace romance, noting that “workplace romance should not be the cause for dismissal, demotion, transfer, or diminution of wages and benefits.”

“The management prerogative’s policy on intra-office workplace romance should not be restrictive. While we respect such prerogative, the most extreme the policy can do is transfer an employee to another division or department,” Tanjusay said.

p: wjg

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