Working in Spain For Members

Are you allowed to have a relationship with a colleague in Spain?

The Local Spain
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Are you allowed to have a relationship with a colleague in Spain?
6 percent of Spanish employees have an internal code or contractual clause that prohibits romantic relationships at work. Photo: Docusign/Unsplash

What happens if you start a romantic relationship with someone at work in Spain? Is there any risk of you losing your job? And do you have to tell your boss?


So, can you really be fired for dating a colleague?

According to a survey conducted by job search website Infojobs, 31 percent of Spanish workers between the ages of 20 and 45 have had a romantic relationship with someone at work. And 45 percent of those ended up as a couple.

So it will come as a relief to those who have their eye on a co-worker that in fact in Spain there is no such thing as an inappropriate relationship between colleagues.


In fact, being fired for having a relationship at work is strictly against Spain’s labour laws as the worker’s right to privacy and non-discrimination is enshrined in the employment charter as fundamental rights.

Article 17 in the Statute of Workers expressly prohibits any type of discrimination against the worker based on kinship ties – who they are related to or in a relationship with.  

Are workers obliged to inform their bosses if a relationship blossoms?

Again, no.

Workers are not legally obliged to inform anyone of the any relationship they may be having, although there may be internal codes that oblige workers to declare if there is a possibility of a conflict of interest, such as a relationship with a potential client or when one of those in the partnership is more senior than the other.


For example, if one individual is responsible for the other’s appraisals, pay reviews, promotion opportunities and even work allocation, then there is danger of perceived favouritism, so it might contravene internal working codes.

In this case, notification of the relationship should be given, and solutions sought.

A 2022 survey by HR company Hays found that 6 percent of workers in Spain have an internal code or contractual clause that prohibits romantic relationships at work. Sixty-three percent of respondents said they were given freedom to decide in this regard, and 31 percent answered that they didn't know.

Photo: Depositphotos. 


What about if the relationship affects the job?

Employers are well within their rights to fire a worker if there is a drop in productivity but this must be carried out following the disciplinary process, with warnings given etc.

What is absolutely not allowed, is to terminate a contract based on the sole fact of a person being in a relationship with someone else.

Depending on the nature of the jobs of those involved with each other, it could be argued that both taking time off at the same time (either for holidays, parental leave etc) could be detrimental to the running of the company and maybe frowned upon.

But legally it’s difficult for employers to terminate a contract based on this issue alone.

Is it a good idea?

With so many hours spent in the workplace it is inevitable that many relationships start there. But keep the flirtations away from the workplace itself.

According to the Infojobs survey, around a third of co-worker affairs start with a drink ‘after work’, two out of ten are the result of a casual encounter and 8 percent start with a kiss at the Christmas party.



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