7 facts about love, relationships and sex at work – SWR3

Is sex allowed in the workplace? Can my boss stop me from loving a coworker? There are questions and answers here.

In fact, she’s never wanted to have anything to do with anyone she works with – today SWR3 anchor and broadcast presenter Sabrina Keimer is in an affair with a colleague. She says to herself: In conversation, you find it hard to talk about – but that’s the rule doctor games: Everything is talked about here, even things you might find a little uncomfortable.

After all, she does not work with him directly, he is only in the same company. “Don’t have sex with the same cost center”Its motto remains. If you don’t meet each other in everyday life and don’t work together directly, that’s okay. Fellow podcaster Max Oil thinks it’s a bit fragmented now — the fellow is still the fellow. But he had affairs at work, for example with an apprentice. And he admits that the gap in the hierarchy and the feeling that it could somehow be blocked also attracted them.

Listen to the full episode here: “Sex at Work” on the SWR3 podcast doctor games:













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7 facts about love, relationships and sex at work

But what are you actually allowed to do at work? Love, sex, and relationships are rarely part of the employment contract you signed when starting a business. Tabitha Schulze-Bünte and Henri Königstedt, legal experts from the SWR editorial team, answer the most important questions:

  1. Is sex illegal in the workplace?
  2. Is sex allowed at work during breaks or after work?
  3. Is it forbidden to enter into a relationship with someone who is subordinate to me, for example a trainee?
  4. Does labor law say something about love at work or is it a private matter?
  5. Can my supervisor prevent me from having a relationship with a colleague?
  6. Can I enter into a relationship with my boss?
  7. Could sex at work be a cause for termination?

1. Is sex illegal in the workplace?

Sex in the workplace – provided, of course, consensual – is not punishable. Nor is there a law specifically prohibiting sex in the workplace. Your emotional life is basically a private matter and even protected by the right to self.

But beware: If you get caught having sex at work, you can still face a warning. Because whoever sleeps with a colleague during working hours does not do any work for the employer during the corresponding period. However, employees are required to do this during business hours. The primary purpose of the warning is to make it clear to the person concerned that they have acted incorrectly and to get them to rethink. If the warning does not work, i.e. employees still have sex at work during working hours, they can be fired.

If employees have sex with a colleague during office hours instead of at work, this can also be considered business hours fraud. In the worst case, an unusual order, i.e. termination without warning, can be justified.

2. Is sex allowed in the workplace during breaks or after work?

In the home office, this is probably not a problem, for the office the following applies: these are always individual cases where a lot of details matter. In this regard, evaluations of such cases are unreliable without a specific case reference from a legal point of view.

3. Is it forbidden to enter into a relationship with someone who is subordinate to me, for example a trainee?

Relationships or relationships with a subordinate can certainly be grounds for termination. Specifically, abuse of power can justify behavioral termination. According to the case law of the Federal Labor Court, an employee’s behavior can almost always justify termination if it can be considered a breach of contractual obligations that is not entirely irrelevant. Usually a warning is required in advance. The situation is different when there is criminal behavior. In these cases, termination without warning may be threatening. Criminal liability for sexual coercion or coercion is possible.

If the subordinate is a minor, criminal liability for mistreatment of guards may be considered. Cases where a supervisor performs sexual acts with a minor or performs sexual acts are recorded.

4. Does the labor law say anything about love at work or is it a private affair?

Nothing is regulated by law in this regard. However, just because there are no explicit regulations regarding romantic relationships in the work environment does not mean that there is a legal vacuum. In some cases, employers also try to put provisions in the employment contract. Since your love life is a private matter and protected by statute, it is not that easy. Corresponding contractual regulations can be illegal and therefore often ineffective in the event of a dispute.



Young woman, covered with hearts, sitting in love at a desk with a laptop.  (Photo: Adobe Stock / khosrork)

love at work? Many people don’t want that – but you usually can’t control where the love falls.



Adobe Stock / khosrork


5. Can my supervisor prevent me from having a relationship with a colleague?

An employer has no right to prevent employees from having a relationship with their co-workers. Here, too, the right to self-determination and the general right of personality provide protection. However, employers have tried to do this in the past: for example, a case was decided in court where the so-called ethical guidelines for employees stated that they should not be allowed to go out with colleagues or enter into a romantic relationship if they affected the person in question could . The court concluded that this was a serious violation of the employee’s personal rights and human dignity.

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6. Can I enter into a relationship with my boss?

Here, too, the basic principle is that the love of life is a private matter. It is not forbidden to have a relationship with your boss. The situation is different when there is criminal behavior. In these cases, termination without notice may be threatening. If the subordinate is a minor, criminal liability for mistreatment of guards may be considered. Cases where a supervisor performs sexual acts with a minor or performs sexual acts are recorded. Criminal liability for sexual coercion or coercion is also possible.

7. Sex at work – could that be a reason to quit?

Sex at work can be a reason for termination, and a relationship at work can also be indirectly responsible for your dismissal. The reason for this, of course, is not the relationship itself. However, if this is a reason for not using your working time to do the work due, you can be warned. If nothing changes as a result, the termination associated with the behavior can be pronounced. Even if you work in the same building as your partner or on the case, you should not use your work time to spend time together, settle disagreements, or plan your next vacation together.

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