When Love and Work Collide: Companies Should Set 'Workplace Romance' Ground Rules

Workplace romance can jeopardize your career, according to CareerJournal.com, The Wall Street Journal's executive career site. The majority of human resource professionals and corporate executives agree that workplace romance is something they would avoid personally, yet their organizations typically don't have policies addressing it, reported a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and CareerJournal.com Workplace Romance survey.

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In addition to the financial risk of collecting paychecks from the same source, couples who work for the same company may be the subject of office gossip, have conflicts of interest and trouble shifting gears at home, and face uncomfortable situations if there is a breakup.

"Colleagues who are dating should find out their company's policies on workplace romance so they can avoid potentially negative consequences," says Tony Lee, editor in chief and general manager of CareerJournal.com. "Although they may not lose their jobs, employees involved in office romances could be viewed as unprofessional, especially if they publicly display their affection."

Before love and work collide, CareerJournal.com advises:

  • Employers should put their workplace romance policies in writing.
  • Employers should advise employees of the potential pitfalls of office romance, especially sexual harassment claims.
  • Supervisors should be prohibited from dating subordinates.
  • Companies should discourage displays of affection in the workplace.
  • Office-cooler sweethearts should understand the potential for retaliation if the relationship ends.

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