Rules abound when love blooms at work
AS BILL and Melinda Gates, or Michelle and Barack Obama can attest, sometimes office romances turn out well. Or as the Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton affair publicly showcased, in some cases things can go wrong.
If you ever thought about dating a co-worker, you should learn some ground rules first, says peoplemanagement specialist and author Karen Gately.
Gately, who regularly works with HR teams, says she has seen office romances turn sour and even end in dismissals.
“The reality is in workplaces everywhere people are involved in personal relationships with colleagues and even their boss. Becoming romantically involved with a colleague isn’t necessarily a problem but how people go about it can be,’’ Gately says.
“It’s wise to understand your rights and obligations before you choose to pursue a personal relationship at work. Being educated can go a long way towards helping you to stay on the right side of your organisation’s policies and the law.”
If you simply must pursue your co-worker crush, follow Gately’s tips: Tell your manager Being upfront with your manager will allow you to work together to ensure your relationship doesn’t become a concern for colleagues or the organisation. Workplace law While there are no laws that specifically govern office romances, sexual harassment legislation is very relevant. Sexual harassment laws are applicable in the office, at work-related events and even between colleagues outside of work. Some types of sexual harassment may also be offences under criminal law. Contemplate for a moment if your relationship ends bitterly. Company policies Ensuring compliance with sexual harassment laws and protecting confidentiality are common reasons organisations choose to put policies in place around workplace relationships. Safe boundaries The most important things you can do to ensure your office romance has a positive impact on your life is to behave with respect, focus and integrity towards yourself, your colleagues and employer.
Think carefully about what it says about your ability to conduct yourself respectively if you choose to date a lot of different people at work or get involved in an extramarital affair.
Never allow your relationship to encroach on company time, disrupt the office environment or stand in the way of you getting your job done.
Honour the contract you have signed up to and strive to contribute to the standard you are capable of.