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Do you have the right to go out with your co-worker?

Living a romantic relationship with a co-worker usually brings its share of difficulties. The ruthless world of the office does not make life easier for lovers. Impossibility of living one’s love in the open, obligation of discretion, gossip of all kinds, difficulties in compartmentalizing private life and life at work,

The road is paved with pitfalls and you have to have strong kidneys, which is not given to everyone! It is therefore better to think twice before embarking on a relationship at workThis is without forgetting an absolutely essential question that any potential lover is entitled to ask: do we have the right to go out with our co-worker? What does French law say about romance at work?

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You’re not going to get fired.

First good news! You do not risk losing your job because you live an idyll with José your hyper muscular colleague, or Julie the switchboard operator with doe eyes

Indeed, article 9 of the Civil Code specifies that everyone has the right to respect for his or her private life. Romantic relationships are a fundamental right of the individual. Therefore, the employer cannot interfere in a love story that would occur in the workplace. Let alone ban it. Thus, an employment contract or internal regulations may not contain a clause prohibiting romantic relations between employees. The same applies to a celibacy clause that would simply be illegal! Nor can a romantic relationship in itself be a reason for dismissal. (Do you have the right to go out with your co-worker?)

You can therefore thank French law, because it would be different in the United States! Our neighbours on the other side of the Atlantic have taken many steps to regulate gender relations at work. Some companies do not hesitate to adopt policies of “anti-fraternization”, prohibiting romantic relationships between colleagues. To protect themselves at all costs, others go so far as to impose “love contracts”. These documents serve to prove that the relationship is mutually agreed – especially in the case of a hierarchical relationship, and that it will not interfere with the life of the company.

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Fortunately cocorico! This hyper codified system and these unromantic rules do not exist in our beautiful country! It is therefore perfectly legal to go out with your colleague!


as long as you respect decency . (Do you have the right to go out with your co-worker?)

Indeed on paper your employer can not tell you anything if you flirt with Dominique from the IT department!

But certain limits are imposed, it goes without saying! Because it will of course be different if your relationship disturbs your working environment or disrupts the activity of the company. You are at work to work and your behavior must be appropriate. An inappropriate attitude could expose you to disciplinary sanctions, ranging from simple warning to dismissal.

For example, if you are caught making galipettes in the office, it will be considered that you have caused a disturbance within the company, and you risk dismissal for serious misconduct.

To a lesser extent, beware of overflowing displays of affection or small nicknames of love, which could also hurt you or your employer.


Do you have the right to go out with your co-worker?

and certain obligations!

In certain rare cases, an employer may set certain limits, if they are “justified by the nature of the task to be performed” and “proportionate to the aim sought” (article 1121-1 of the Labour Code). As such, for obvious reasons, it is possible to impose celibacy in a Catholic college run by good sisters.

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And in case of hierarchical link, you must be irreproachable! So be sure that your attitude does not give rise to suspicions of favoritism. Treating your other half in favor, as a promotion, could be seen as a breach of equal treatment of employees. Not to mention that it would be highly detrimental to your reputation.

So what should we do?

Your employer does not have to be informed of your privacy, it is not their business. Some would argue that in the event of a long-term and serious relationship, you should notify your employer. But in reality nothing obliges you to do so. Moreover, it is not an individual decision, but one that must be matured together. To formalize things is also to assume one’s relationship. We must therefore be sufficiently certain of its solidity. You can simply decide to remain discreet about your relationship, separating private and professional life as much as possible.

Do you have the right to go out with your co-worker?

But keep in mind that the company is above all a place of human encounters. The law does not prohibit you from romantic relationships. And morality shouldn’t interfere with your story either. No one has to judge you for that. You are perfectly entitled to live the relationship you want with whoever you want.


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