Fishing off the company wharf!


What is it about short men in positions of power? The Bevan/Len saga reads like a re-run of the Bill and Monica fiasco – all hot and steamy but no cigar in this case apparently.

Clearly ‘power’ is a compelling aphrodisiac for some people. Would Len have appealed to Bevan if he was down the ‘pecking order’ (no pun intended) and in a really exciting job like being in charge of city Sanitation and Drainage? If Len had been the council’s Chief Porcelain Technician would he have in any way thought he had the necessary appeal to entice Bevan away from the magnetic clutches of Luigi The Wedgee?

However it does raise the whole complexity of relationships formed at work. Whilst there is no doubt that people are entitled to their own life, when relationships are formed or broken in the workplace there is usually some fall out! If it affects others and workplace performance, it does become, like it or not, a very delicate issue some employers have to deal with.

Companies who are thinking of introducing a ‘non fraternisation’ policy aka ‘no fishing off the company wharf’ or a ‘don’t s@%*& the crew’ edict need to be careful. Take legal advice as the law is fraught with dangers around this sort of thing! These could be grounds for discrimination or disadvantage in the workplace if you do so. Whilst we think the better thing to do is to deal with this sort of issue in a discreet and private way when and if it arises, having a process for dealing with possible ‘conflict of interest’ either in employment agreements or your staff handbook should be considered. This is particularly so when relationships in the workplace can give rise to allegations of bias, uneven treatment or could expose an organisation to ‘collusive’ behaviour allegations. This is a particular concern in businesses in the financial services industry. Clear delegations, escalation and dual sign offs around decisions involving investment and capital expenditure will mitigate any fraudulent activity.

Back to Luigi – seems he has flown the coup – must have got too hot in the henhouse! What on earth was he thinking?

By Paul Bell

Whakatū | Nelson

Te Whanganui-a-Tara | Wellington

Ōtautahi | Christchurch

Waiharakeke | Blenheim

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