Priceline CEO Resigns After Investigation Reveals Relationship with Employee

Darren Huston violated the company's code of conduct, Priceline says.

By Andrew Peeling Apr 28, 2016
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The Priceline Group CEO Darren Huston resigned Thursday after an internal investigation revealed that a personal relationship he had with another employee violated the company's code of conduct.

A statement released by the company indicated that the fellow employee was not under Huston's direct supervision, but that Huston had engaged in activities inconsistent with the board of directors' expectations for executive conduct.

The Priceline Group is perhaps best known for its exuberant pitchman, William Shatner, as well as its popular travel websites, including Priceline.com, Kayak.com and Booking.com. 

Huston served as CEO for the online travel company since January 2014. He was replaced Thursday by former CEO Jeffery Boyd, who the company said will act as interim CEO. 

Though dating in the workplace is common, a Society for Human Resource Management study in 2013 revealed that most organizations do not have a policy regarding office romance.

How common is workplace romance? One out of four (24 percent) employees reported that they have been or are currently involved in a workplace romance. Forty-three percent of HR professionals reported current incidences of workplace romance at their organizations.

Do organizations have a policy that addresses workplace romance? Overall, more than one-half (54 percent) of organizations do not have a written or verbal policy that addresses workplace romance. However, in 2013, an increasing number of organizations (42 percent) indicated having a written or verbal policy compared with 2005 (25 percent). 

What types of workplace romance are not permitted? Among organizations that have workplace romance policies, almost all (99 percent) indicated that romance between a supervisor and a direct report is not permitted, followed by romance between employees of a significant rank difference (45 percent) and between employees who report to the same supervisor (35 percent). Consequences for breaking an organization’s workplace romance policy vary depending on the type of workplace romance and the rank of employees. 

What consequences have been applied to employees involved in a workplace romance? The most frequently reported consequence was a transfer of an employee involved in a workplace romance to another department (34 percent) and counseling (32 percent). 


More Coverage:

Sample: Employee Dating Policy
This sample policy addresses employee dating and consensual romantic relationships occurring between co-workers and among co-workers and managers, supervisors and others in positions of corporate authority over terms and conditions of employment.

At Work, HR Among Cupid's Targets
It's not surprising people are making romantic connections in the workplace, according to a recent survey.

Illicit Office Dalliances an HR 'Nightmare'
Handling workplace romances that jeopardize marriages and often involve alcohol hardly sounds like an HR manager's dream job, but if you're up for the challenge, you may want to seek employment in the United Kingdom.

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