Police officer David Budd is promoted to personal protection officer (PPO) – in other words, a bodyguard – and his first assignment is to protect home secretary Julia Montague.Their relationship quickly develops beyond its professional boundaries, and their steamy affair continues in secret until Montague is fatally injured in a bombing.
Despite Budd’s role as Montague’s knight in shining armour, letting their relationship develop beyond the professional was unwise, says Clare Lassiter, senior HR consultant at Pure Human Resources.
“In this situation, not only was it inappropriate given their working relationship, but it also posed a threat to national security,” she says.
Lassiter explains that it’s up to organisations to decide what rules to set around office romances: “Some businesses have a zero-tolerance approach, and one of the parties may be asked to resign. Others will allow them both to remain employed, but under certain conditions. For example, the company may want to set rules around who in the business needs to be aware of the relationship and when, so there are no misunderstandings.”
The parties should also be reminded they shouldn’t share confidential information with each other, especially if one is more senior than the other, Lassiter adds.
“If one of the pair is a manager, they may be exposed to more sensitive details within the business, but the relationship shouldn’t be used as a reason to share this information.”