They started to get cocky by the third lockdown.
Dentons has "taken appropriate steps" after discovering that one of its partners has been in a secret long-term relationship with his associate.
The pair have been a couple for several years, according to a source, and even own a house together. But they kept their relationship hidden from the whole department and the firm. RollOnFriday is protecting their identities.
"They are very much a normal couple but do not want the company to know", said an insider.
Lockdown posed a problem for the clandestine couple, but they managed to pull the wool over their colleagues' webcams by attending virtual meetings while sitting in separate rooms of their house.
The charade fell apart when somebody snitched to the firm this week.
Using the pseudonym John Smith, the informant emailed the firm to say that the relationship's secrecy was "completely unethical" because the partner conducted appraisals for the associate. In the correspondence, seen by RollOnFriday, 'Smith' told the firm that the partner's high scores resulted in his girlfriend receiving pay rises, while others in the department who were of equal merit "may not have".
But Smith only informed on the lovers after the firm began a redundancy consultation and they feared for their job. Smith told the firm that there was "no doubt" the partner would score the associate highly in the consultation, and that "I have no doubt that someone will be made redundant or pushed into a role that they do not want" because of the partner's scoring of the associate.
"This matter needs addressing", added the employee, as "I do not want to be pushed out unless this process is entirely legitimate".
Dentons told RollOnFriday in a statement that it "immediately took steps to confirm the position with the individuals concerned" after receiving Smith's email.
The firm said it also "reconvened" the partners, "excluding the concerned partner", to "conduct a final moderation of the scoring process relating to the redundancy exercise". The result confirmed the original outcome, and "as such we are satisfied that all of our processes have been robust and fair throughout", said the firm.
Dentons also concluded that all of the partner's appraisals of his girlfriend, and her pay rises, were fair. Maybe more than fair!
"We have also taken appropriate steps to ensure that the circumstances are being formally managed in accordance with our policies", added the firm.