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The question: Relationships at work

Some of Britain's leading companies are banning relationships at work. Is this reasonable?

Given the imbalance in the numbers of men and women in civil engineering I cannot see this being a big issue. However, given the new European Human Rights Act it will be a brave company that is the first to sack anyone for having a relationship.

Kenneth Brown,27, assistant structures officer, Scotland

To ban relationships would add another brick to the wall that is being constructed by our employers to separate humanness from our worklives.

Mat Toy, 36, group engineer, South East

I met my wife in a pub but a lot of people do meet their spouses at work so banning relationships would mean a lot of sacked people on the job market. Relationships and affairs only go to improve the working environment. You cannot beat a good bit of office gossip to liven up the day!

Dave Garratt, 31, project engineer, Southall

I think it is appalling that any company could contemplate such a policy. Yes, the problems that may develop as a consequence of office relationships can devastate a company but it must be a gross infringement of personal freedom.

John D Brownlie, 52, programme manager, Shrewsbury

The industry's hours mean that many engineers' interaction with potential partners is more likely to be in the work place than outside it. Banning relationships between staff will not prevent it. In most circumstances people will keep their liaisons quiet, in others employers will simply force good staff to leave.

Patrick Waterhouse, 32 project director, Manchester

Is it April 1st? Surely this must fall foul of the recently adopted human rights legislation? It will result in either confrontation or the driving underground of any relationships.

David Webster, engineer, North of Scotland Water Authority

Given the long hours that most of us work, few have either the time or the inclination to go out on a regular 'trawl' of pubs and clubs etc, looking for Mr or Miss Right. My office has several marriages resulting from office romances, and all the individuals concerned behaved extremely properly and professionally. As for my own situation, I am single, but open to offers. . . ! !

Sandra Rolfe, 32, principal pipelines engineer, Bucks

I met my wife at work and I believe we managed to contain our enthusiasm to outside office hours! It is horrifying to contemplate the negative effects of introducing such mean-spirited and retrograde measures. What next - marriages arranged by one's employer as part of the benefits package?

Ian Munro, 44, area manager, Dunfermline

I would hope British employers chose employees that were adult enough to deal sensibly with such a situation.

Gro Lindley, 28, graduate engineer, Newcastle

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