Work Romances: Dating on the Job
By Frank Kermit
It is said that about 30% of couples met through work in some capacity. From bosses who marry the secretary to employees from different departments making special connections, to police officers and citizens making a spark after the issuing of a speeding ticket. There is no limit to the stories of work romances.
However, there are risks to dating someone that you work with, and it is a good idea to keep these in mind.
First, there may be company policies where you work about such romances. Some companies require the employee couple to report to the Human Resources Department to announce their involvement just in case there might be a conflict of interest that company wants to avoid.
Other companies have very strict rules of absolutely no fraternization between co-workers, employees and or clients of the business, which may lead to termination if the rules are not followed.
Then there are those consequences to deal with, even if the relationship goes very well. For one thing, if and when your coworkers learn of your romance it can lead the two of you to headline the office gossip.
Another challenge couples discover, is managing to keep their private life and their work life separate.
Having to wait until you get home to have a more private conversation, and having to wait until you get into work to have a work related conversation proves to be more difficult than people can imagine.
In fact, some people find it exceptionally difficult not to be able to vent about the job during off hours to their partner, out of worry that something they say may come back to the work place in ways that were unintended to be shared.
Lastly, a partner may be in the unpleasant position of holding back from disciplining other employees because of the role of the other partner has related to those employees.
Finally there is the concept of sexual harassment in the workplace as it relates to work romances. I asked a former manager of mine about sexual harassment claims made on the job.
She informed me that all claims are investigated and about 50% of them that she investigated regularly produced evidence that prove the acts were consensual.
Usually the acts that took place on the work premises during a time when the two individuals were secretly romantically involved.
She described these cases as relationships that went south, and someone seeking revenge through allegations.
In those cases both the employees involved usually get reprimanded for acting on their relations on work premises, and not for the relations themselves.
So here are some basics to keep in mind:
-Keep all relational talk or physicality off the premises
-Keep evidence of your involvement (emails, photos, etc…) that prove there was consent of togetherness even if it is off the premises, just in case of a revenge allegation later on
-Try to keep your office relationship a secret at first until you are sure it is serious enough to announce to your coworkers, but not so secret as to avoid keeping evidence of your involvement
-Be aware of any company policies that could affect you, your partner and your careers
-Do your best to keep your two worlds separate.
Is the person you are dating worth all the risk?
Only you can know if the risk is worth it for you.