“You’re creating a climate where people are going to see bias whether there really is bias or not.” Relationships with your peers are generally more acceptable—assuming they’re unhitched.A stunning 20% of people who told Career Builder that they had dated someone at the office admitted that at least one person in the relationship was married.
After firing CEO Dov Charney last month, American Apparel decided to update its company code of ethics with stricter guidelines regarding interoffice relationships.
According to the new policy, “No management-level employee may make sexual advances, welcome or unwelcome, toward any subordinate.” Considering Charney’s time with the company was riddled with allegations of sexual harassment, it’s no surprise that the company wants to take a more conservative approach to fraternization.
But here’s the thing: Whether or not there are policies forbidding them, office relationships happen.
A recent survey by Career Builder found that nearly 40% of employees admitted to having a romantic relationship with a co-worker.
But getting involved with someone who’s married can end up damaging your personal reputation as well as your professional one—if people find out, you could lose integrity—not to mention the pain it could inflict on loved ones (yours or your partner’s).
Know Your Company’s Policy Before the First Date Some companies have very strict rules about relationships, and you should understand those boundaries—and the possible consequences of crossing them.“Of course we know those policies aren’t always adhered to,” says Jacqueline Whitmore, founder of etiquetteexpert.com, “but it certainly should be considered, especially if there’s a policy that says, ‘We won’t hire married couples.'” In other words, assuming you think this relationship could get serious enough to get to the altar, you could end up having to choose between your lover and your livelihood. Of people surveyed by Workplace Options, 57% said they’d opt to protect their career, but 43% said they would lean towards leaving their jobs.And a whopping 31% of office relationships result in marriage—meaning they can’t always be a bad idea, right?Here’s how to make sure pursuing love won’t cost you your job: Avoid Getting Involved with the Wrong Person According to the Career Builder survey, 24% of intra-office relationships were with someone higher up in the organization.Dana Brownlee, president of professional training development company Professionalism Matters, advises against initiating a romance with your manager, or, likewise, with anyone who reports to you directly or indirectly.“If you’re a manager, you should be held to a higher standard,” she says.