A shoe factory situated close to Onitsha in Anambra State Nigeria, has a mixed generation staff strength of 386, with 355 males and 31 females.  This progressive and agile organization produces about 27% of the shoes used locally within the region and looking to expand its market dominance to the southwest and south central parts of Nigeria.

Chidiebere, a young dynamic lady with a passionate career focus, high hopes, deep sense of professionalism and creativity, joined the organization in 2008 and spent one year in the training school to emerge as the most outstanding and admired management trainee for that year. She was then posted to the Packaging department to express her new ideas and creative skills to build the growing department; her personal brand expression, employability skills, disciplined work ethics inspired her outstanding performance which positioned her for next-level management positions.

She worked in the packaging department for six months delivering consistently high performance, great creativity for solving problems and dynamic team leadership. She was then transferred to the Quality Control Department to provide new solutions, inspiration to her peers and to meet key business goals by improving the quality of products produced, packaged and delivered to the customers.

Nnamdi Onyemaechi, a solution provider and system change catalyst, was made her line head; he was cheerful, approachable, young, dynamic and single. Nnamdi, a 29 year old chap with an extremely gorgeous look, refined poise, well-mannered expressions and communication skills, that make all heads turn and keep eyes hitched in admiration of his finesse. Nnamdi was the design solutions provider that retrofitted machine parts and workflows, reducing the material offcut-waste by 7% per production cycle. He similarly, created the offcut design unit to convert irregular shaped materials into unique products for a new market focus. 

Amarachukwu and Munachi admired his leadership, personality and ability to create dynamic solutions within a short period. They were always super excited to work directly with Nnamdi to catch and retain his unflinching attention towards is work and someone else. Nnamdi also lead a team that developed great ideas, delivering exceptional quality products that the organization used as a competitive advantage and winning International product awards for 3 years consecutively.

Working for a short period with Chidiebere created an affinity based on her extensive work results and superb personality. Nnamdi began waking up earlier every day with new zest to come to work, also coopting Chidiebere into nearly all projects. Unexpectedly, a strong secret bond grew and bloomed into deep affection and near open romance. While they both remained focused on the core objectives of the department and keep the production indices positive. Their deep chemistry, passionate and expressive connection became common rumor in cafeteria, rest rooms, production lines and walk ways.

Munachi said, “This deep chemistry and connection is creating more lines within the team”.  Based on these talks and undercurrent team pressures, the case was unofficially reported to the HR, about their deep connection, seemingly romantic and distracting office connection. The HR acting on the performance policy concerns, team pressure concerns and line manager’s code of conduct policy; advised Nnamdi to resign his appointment with the organization, while Chidiebere was transferred to the Truck monitoring and logistics department.

Chidiebere became extremely emotional, heart-broken and did not come to work for four days breaking the policy of absenteeism and was therefore reprimanded. She returned to work and after a short while her performance began to drop significantly and her new line manager had to issue a low performance caution letter.

  • So, what went wrong?
  • What is wrong with having affection in the workplace if you can remain focused?
  • Was the decision of the HR right, wrong, just or fair?

While the duo have gone incommunicado with their relationship and plans to get married within a few months. Nnamdi is filing a law suit challenging the decision of management, while Chidiebere’s creative strength seems to have disappeared over the last 5 months. ∞

  • What do you really think, looking from 4 perspectives of this matter