Boss and employee dating

“ Not every junior-senior relationship causes trouble, but their sensitive nature means everyone involved needs to be extra-aware of what’s ethical.

Manager/employee dating, in particular, may be prohibited by policy so it is always a good idea to check with the HR department or take a look at the policy handbook to see what rules your company has. In 2008, more than 13,867 sexual harassment claims were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

When a supervisor is dating a subordinate, other workers might claim that the subordinate received preferential treatment in job assignments or pay raises, says a partner with the labor and employment practice of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham.

“I do this because [relationships] can cause a lot of damage. They are dead ringers for cascading violations of integrity.” One of the major concerns regarding junior/senior dating is that there may be an element of coercion.

“When one has a reasonable suspicion that a boss/subordinate are dating, that individual should immediately report their suspicion to human resources, which can then ensure that there are safeguards in place,” says Matthew Brophy, assistant professor of philosophy at High Point University.

“The subordinate, for example, needs to be assured that he or she should not feel coerced into dating their boss, and that he or she will be protected if the subordinate wishes to terminate the relationship.” If your company has a policy in place and you hear employees are violating it, confirm what you’ve heard before you take action, says HR consultant Mary Nestor-Harper.

“If the source is reliable, or if you've observed suspicious behavior yourself, go directly to the boss or the senior person in the situation and determine the nature of the relationship, remind them of the policy, and ask for their cooperation and confidentiality.

The Society for Human Resource Management and Career conducted a Workplace Romance survey in 2006 and found that only 9 percent of the HR professionals surveyed indicated that dating among employees was prohibited in their organizations.

More than 70 percent did not have formal written or verbal policies dealing with romantic relationships.

Not all relationships last forever, of course, but if and when the relationship between manager and subordinate ends, the work relationship may need to continue.

That can be uncomfortable for both parties as well as for co-workers. Her work has been published in "Entrepreneur," "Complete Woman" and "Toastmaster," among many other trade and professional publications.

“Junior-senior relationships in the office can hurt morale and even harm the company if the people involved forget their professionalism,” says Beth P. The relationship can lead to claims of favoritism or cause other co-workers to feel uncomfortable and create a hostile work environment.

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