Want to Get Fired? Have an Office Romance.
Valentine’s Day is around the corner, but maybe you should run from Cupid.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
I've stated before that sexual harassment isn't a dating problem, it's a power problem. This power problem is why you should have strict rules about managers dating subordinates. And by strict rules, I mean it should be absolutely, positively forbidden. But, romance between peers or people in departments that don't interact and don't have hire/fire authority over each other has been something the company should allow.
Challenger, Gray, and Christmas conducted a survey of 150 Human Resource executives and found that one-third of office romances ended with somebody being fired. Not quitting, mind you, fired. Another 17 percent resulted in a transfer and 5 percent resulted in a lawsuit.
So, more than 50 percent of office romances end with pretty awful consequences, which creates a burden on the company. So, maybe just a thought, your team company party idea where you do an in-house "Bachelor" game is probably a bad idea.
Romance doesn't always work out like it does on television, and people often don't want to work together after a breakup. Then you have the concerns about how much pressure one person places on another (which prompts firms like Facebook to have specific rules about asking people out).
However, I'm going to take this survey with a grain of salt. Here's why. 150 HR executives probably isn't large enough to be truly representative. (I haven't seen their statistical analysis.) But even if it is, there's another huge problem: When relationships go well, nobody reports it to HR.
Nobody goes to their HR manager and says, "So, Joe and I have been dating for two years now and it's going well, and since we don't work on the same projects there's no conflict of interest and we're pretty private people, so there's no drama. Thanks! Just wanted to let you know!"
Instead, people come sobbing to HR, "Joe and I were dating, but then he started sleeping with Jane, who is such a whore!" That's what HR hears about. And that's the kind of situation where in order to keep the whole building from exploding, massive changes have to be made.
Does this mean I think you should actively pursue romance in the office? Well, there are 7 billion people in the world, so there are plenty of other places to find romance other than with the 30 people you work with. But, if you do choose to pursue this route, make sure you're following company rules, regarding disclosure (if applicable), and no relationships between people with whom you have hire/fire power. Don't be lovey-dovey at work, and treat each other professionally.
Also, you should probably get to know the person quite well before you start engaging in activities that could be misconstrued as inappropriate should the relationship go south.