Labor group: Office romances OK, but gov’t should issue guidelines
ON TUESDAY, a day before Valentine’s Day, the Associated Labor Unions – Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) came out with a statement assuring employees who fall in love with their bosses that no government policy prevents such a relationship from blooming.
But Alan Tanjusay, policy advocacy officer of ALU-TUCP, said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) should issue guidelines on “inter- and intra-office workplace” romance policies to prevent “abusive employers” from using the issue to lay off, demote or transfer their employees.
“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,” Tanjusay said.
Tanjusay noted that the law was “vague” and “subject to many interpretations” on the matter.
“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.
“Some employers use or create such prerogative to lay off, demote, or transfer their employees.”
While the courts “had always been in favor” of complainant workers who were subjected to such treatment, Tanjusay stressed that DOLE regulations would help minimize strained relations between employees and the management.
“The ALU-TUCP, however, maintains that company policy should allow, not prevent, workplace romance, period,” Tanjusay said. “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,” he explained.
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