The ousting of Boeing chief Harry Stonecipher has put the spotlight on the implications of workplace romances.
According to Martin Brewer, a partner at the Birmingham office of law firm Mills & Reeve, the issue has raised the thorny question of how far corporate ethics should reach into personal lives.
Mr Stonecipher, aged 68, former chief executive of the US-based aeroplane maker, resigned after it was discovered he had been having a relationship with a female executive.
The aerospace industry giant has recently been hit by a number of scandals, including the jailing of two senior executives.
In a bid to clean up its act, the firm established a new code of conduct, which Mr Stonecipher had been instrumental in introducing and enforcing.
Against this background, it was felt that Mr Stonecipher's affair with a colleague was highly inappropriate.
According to Martin Brewer, there is no rule of law which prevents employees having workplace relationships.
In fact, in Europe at least, the Human Rights Act lays down a specific right to privacy in such matters.
"But that is not to say that workplace affairs can't result in a sacking, particularly if there is some fall out from the relationship," said Mr Brewer.
"For example, if the relationship turns nasty, one party could allege sexual discrimination against the other; or, if a senior member of staff abuses their position by promoting a junior amour. You can see why employers get nervous.
"In dismissing an employee, an employer would need to demonstrate their action was reasonable, and that the affair had materially affected their ability to do their job."
What's more, Mr Brewer said that the introduction of General Standards of Conduct, laying down the boundaries of acceptable behaviour, was not necessarily the right answer.