Workplace Word: February 2009 - What's Love Got To Do With It?
Dealing With Workplace Romances


Just in time for Valentine's Day, this issue of the Workplace Word addresses workplace romance. See if this sounds familiar"¦

One of your employees, Supervisor Jane, shares with you the latest rumor: another employee, Supervisor Jim, is currently dating an employee whom he directly supervises. Jane, happy to throw Jim under the bus, says that everyone in Jim's department knows about the romance because the two got into a big fight last week right after Jim conducted his department's performance evaluations. You track Jim down to ask him about the situation, and he admits to having the relationship, but states he now feels "uncomfortable" about the whole thing because he knows he needs to terminate his love interest based on her poor performance. Jim then asks, "What's the company's policy on things like this?"

Given that most people spend the majority of their waking hours with coworkers, coupled with the bonding that typically occurs at work, romance in the workplace is sure to flourish. As an employer, failure to treat employees equally is one of the quickest ways to find yourself in a courtroom. Even the appearance of impropriety is a problem that rivals actual inequitable treatment. This is why workplace romances present such a thorny problem for managers.

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