Dana Brownlee, president of professional training development company Professionalism Matters, advises against initiating a romance with your manager, or, likewise, with anyone who reports to you directly or indirectly."If you're a manager, you should be held to a higher standard," she says.
"You're creating a climate where people are going to see bias whether there really is bias or not."Relationships with your peers are generally more acceptable—assuming they're unhitched.
So, what do you do if Cupid strikes two of your employees? There are consequences for the company, particularly if the relationship is between a manager and a subordinate.
“By turning a blind eye, the owner not only could be unaware of potential sexual harassment and a resulting lawsuit, but could be accused of willful ignorance, thus exacerbating the harm to the subordinate and the resulting injury award,” warns David Scher, principal attorney for the Employment Law Group.
They pay, not just in dollars and cents but also in reputation, degradation and a permanent cloud that often soils corporate culture forever. Bill O'Reilly, who hosts the O'Reilly Factor on Fox Networks, has had alleged allegations of sexual harassment and we all know of the former President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal.
We only hear about the highly publicized celebrity and media stories, but truth be told, these stories happen everywhere and can happen to anyone.
After firing CEO Dov Charney last month, American Apparel decided to update its company code of ethics with stricter guidelines regarding interoffice relationships.
According to the new policy, “No management-level employee may make sexual advances, welcome or unwelcome, toward any subordinate.”Considering Charney’s time with the company was riddled with allegations of sexual harassment, it’s no surprise that the company wants to take a more conservative approach to fraternization.Nancy Shenker was 22 when she had her first office romance.“It was literally the guy in the next cubicle to me,” says Shenker, who was working in a publishing firm at the time.The romance lasted only a few months before her partner moved on to someone else in the office, but it gave Shenker an intimate look at how office romances can affect the workplace.“I learned that having a relationship with a co-worker is fraught with issues.A stunning 20% of people who told Career Builder that they had dated someone at the office admitted that at least one person in the relationship was married.Perhaps that makes sense given the amount of time we spend at work: In an office relationship, you can relate to the struggles someone faces from 9 to 5, says Brownlee.Going through a breakup is bad enough but seeing the ‘ex’ everyday can be a huge distraction,” says Shenker, who, decades later, would co-author Don’t Hook Up With The Dude In The Next Cube with Lindsay E. “But it can have consequences.”When women first entered the workplace inter-office dating was frowned upon.