Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Tell us if you’ve had an intimate relationship with a colleague, or you could get fired, oil giant warns staff

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Last year, BP faced an embarrassing episode when former CEO Bernard Looney resigned after the company’s board said he hadn’t been fully transparent about his personal relationships with colleagues.

Now the oil giant is making sure that doesn’t happen again.

BP informed all employees last week that they must disclose any intimate relationships with colleagues, or they could face disciplinary action, the company confirmed to Business Insider.

This includes dismissal in some circumstances, Reuters reported.

Under the new policy, employees are also prohibited “from directly or indirectly managing relatives or those with whom they’re in an intimate relationship,” according to a memo sent to staff and seen Reuters.

BP has updated its code of conduct to reflect the changes.

The company also confirmed to BI that it has also told thousands of senior managers that they have until September 1 to declare any intimate relationships from the last three years.

In contrast to its previous policy, workers must now report relationships regardless of whether they feel there could be a conflict of interest, BP told BI in a statement.

Previously, it was only necessary if they felt there was a conflict of interest.

The move comes after former CEO Bernard Looney left the company last September for failing to fully disclose details of past “personal relationships” with colleagues.

BP started investigating Looney’s relationships with colleagues in 2022 after receiving an anonymous tip-off.

The CEO was consulted during the process but later admitted to having hidden some details about those relationships.


Bernard Looney wearing a suit and tie whilst gazing into the distance

Bernard Looney was CEO of BP for more than three years.

ARUN SANKAR/ Getty Images



His behavior amounted to “serious misconduct,” according to the board, and Looney lost his job and more than $40 million in compensation.

BP’s shares dropped following his resignation and have continued to underperform against rivals. Looney was replaced by Murray Auchincloss, who took over as CEO in January.

While some organizations fully prohibit workplace relationships, the majority simply discourage them. Disclosure is often a key part of that, particularly when it comes to staff and those who evaluate or manage them.

“Most of the time, purely disclosing it would solve the problem,” Johnny C. Taylor Jr., CEO of Society for HR Management, previously told Business Insider.

“It’s hard to have a disclosure policy and then say to someone, ‘Once you disclose, I’m going to fire you.'”

Are you a worker at BP or another company with a strict office relationships policy? Contact this reporter at pthompson@businessinsider.com

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