It was an ignominious end to a stellar career for BP’s Bernard Looney.
He joins the growing pile of chief executives felled because of their failure to disclose romantic relationships in the workplace.
It’s becoming an increasingly thorny issue for businesses. Aware of the reputational damage these kinds of relationships can do, they are grappling with how to best manage them.
It means employees, even below the executive level, are increasingly having to make personal disclosures to HR.
Although there are no laws that ban romantic relationships within the workplace – and for valid reasons – businesses are drawing up policies of their own.
It’s a balancing act because businesses must respect their employees’ right to a private life, while also recognising that the dynamics of romantic relationships in a workplace can be complicated – especially when it involves workers with different levels of seniority.
Some employers now require employees to sign “love contracts,” whereby they must disclose and confirm that they consent to a relationship with another member of staff.
Others are banning senior staff from engaging in these types of relationships altogether.
Matt Gingell, an employment lawyer at the law firm Lombards, said: “I think that employers have to protect the workforce.
“And, of course, employers have to make sure that the dynamics of teams are fair, and that there isn’t favouritism or perceived favouritism (as a result of a romantic relationship).
“Also, that there aren’t situations where there can be an abuse of power, where people in senior roles are effectively abusing their position and adversely affecting perhaps more junior staff.”