Negative effects of dating in the workplace

Also, when you date somebody at work, they “get” you and the pressures of your job. having an office romance can also lead to potential legal consequences.
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You have a lot in common with them. When you spend this much time with someone, you get to know them on an intimate, day-to-day level. You get a feel for their intelligence, personality and ethic and this can create a type of chemistry that could lead to something more. Being in a relationship where someone knows those demands and how that can likely impact time and availability is vital for any kind of relationship growth.

Gregg Ward , Workplace Consultant puts it this way: This type of situation can lead to poor performance, increased absenteeism, workplace drama and a possible hostile work environment.

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Also, workplace romance rarely, if ever, stays between two people. Relationships need time to grow between just two people before being brought out into the open. Constant scrutiny can drive a quick wedge between you. Another reason work and romance rarely mix is it can put a serious hamper on job performance.

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You may find yourself taking longer lunches together or finding ways to sneak off to be alone. Aside from creating a tense office environment, having an office romance can also lead to potential legal consequences. Another potential ugly consequence of workplace romance? Imagine the embarrassment of finding this out through a nasty phone call or email from a furious significant other!

Workplace Dating & Affairs

The closeness and intimacy of a romantic relationship and the subsequent loss of this relationship could trigger a sudden and violent response. For one, favoritism is going to be an issue. Think of it this way: You may even risk turning into the office outcast. As a supervisor dating a subordinate, you may run into some issues as well. Normally, you would reprimand the person but considering the relationship, your hands are now tied. Especially in a case like this.

Even if the relationship was consensual, you always run the risk of a sexual harassment claim from the subordinate who can claim feeling pressured to continue the relationship out of fear of losing their job. The purpose of these contracts is to clearly outline specific guidelines and acknowledgements by both parties in the relationship.

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This protects the company, as well as defines the responsibilities and behavioral guidelines of the parties involved when they are at work. However, this option seems archaic. It could ultimately lead to an employer having to lose star employees who are faced with the decision of choosing love over continued employment — in the end, it could end up costing the employer money.

Further, a complete ban on workplace dating may deter employees from coming forward to disclose a non-consensual relationship out of fear of losing their job.

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A more common approach is for employers to have workplace dating policies that prevent intimate relationships between a superior and subordinate especially in the same department , or ones that could create a conflict of interest. This type of policy may be preferable in terms of costs i. However, any work-place dating policy an employer has should address what constitutes inappropriate behaviour, any rules governing workplace relationships i.

For instance, a policy might allow a workplace relationship so long as it is reported to Human Resources and with written confirmation by the parties that the relationship is in fact consensual. It could be even that the policy covers not only employees, but also contractors, vendors, suppliers, etc. Likely not, but again, it really depends on any specific policies and procedures the employer may have in place.


For instance, if an employee lies or misleads an employer when confronted about a workplace relationship and that employee is in a high position of trust or authority with the company, there may be grounds for termination. Many policies will stipulate that if you are in breach of a workplace policy, there may be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal with dismissal being reserved for the rarest circumstances. An Office Romance Gone Wrong. A notable case touching upon the issue of what may constitute just cause for dismissal as a result of an inappropriate workplace relationship is Cavaliere v.

In Cavaliere, a senior-management employee was dismissed for cause without any notice or pay in lieu of notice for engaging in sexual relationships with two subordinates over several years. The dismissed employee argued that the relationships were consensual, and that the employer had no grounds to dismiss him for cause.

The court found that there were grounds for cause — relying on a line of cases that stand for the principal that managerial employees have an implied obligation in their employment contracts to ensure that the work place does not come poisoned due to sexual harassment, and to protect the employer from potential legal action for such harassment. This was the result even though the court noted that the relationships were, on their face, consensual. Other factors considered by the court when deciding that there were grounds for just cause included the fact that the dismissed employee and the two subordinates he engaged in relations with were married.

The sexual activities often took place within the workplace. Notably, after the first workplace relationship was discovered, the employer provided the employee with a written warning to cease the behavior, but almost immediately after he ignored the warning and entered into a new inappropriate workplace relationship. This second relationship involved a very vulnerable junior subordinate. Thus, employers may be able to establish just cause for dismissal when dealing with relationships that cross power; however, employers cannot jump the gun on terminating an employee for just cause, and this will generally be extremely difficult for an employer to justify.

Whether you are an employee or employer, if you are uncertain about the legal implications of a workplace relationship, it is always a good idea to consult with a lawyer to determine the best course of action. Can an employer put a complete ban on office dating? Can engaging in an intimate relationship with a co-worker be grounds for termination from your employment?