September 18, 2009, Newsletter Issue #271: Office Romances and Maintaining Boundaries

Tip of the Week

Romances and relationships are hard enough without combining matters of the heart with the work environment. There are many variables when it comes to working and romancing at the same time. If this is happening to you, be smart and follow some guidelines to keep the office romance in check and within professional boundaries.

1. Try to resist the office romance between a supervisor and subordinate. The imbalance of power could become a problem after a breakup. However, if the relationship exists, each partner should sign a statement saying the relationship is consensual. This agreement stops any nasty discrimination or harassment problems down the road.
2. Avoid even an appearance of sexual favors in the situation. Other staffers may notice and it could be grounds for discrimination lawsuits.
3. It matters what your customers and business associates think. If any of them become uncomfortable with the relationship, there may be potential problems when it comes to the reputation of the company.
4. If a breakup happens which statistically it will, try not to gossip with your co-workers about who was right or wrong. This is spilled milk and causes friction among the staff.
5. Sex and relationship issues cause tension in an office setting like no other problem. Think ahead and it may not be worth starting this relationship.


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