Am I permitted to date a co-worker?

On behalf of Sullivan Law Group APC posted in employee rights on Sunday, December 2, 2018.

It’s natural to have concerns about harassment in the workplace. While most employers and employees frown upon problematic behaviors, determining whether it’s ethical to date a co-worker is often up for debate. While some people are not bothered by the practice others may find fault with interoffice romances. In order to navigate the situation appropriately, The Balance offers the following advice.

Consider the consequences

Before entering into a relationship with a co-worker, ask yourself whether it’s truly worth it. Chances are this relationship will end before your employment contract does, which can lead to discomfort between you and former paramour. Also, be aware that most people will find out you’re dating a co-worker, which could alter your standing among peers and subordinates.

Come to an agreement with your partner

If you’re OK with taking these risks, make sure the other party feels the same. Talk about how you’ll deal with day-to-day interactions, how much to disclose to fellow workers, and how you’ll handle a break up if it occurs. While this is certainly a difficult conversation to have, doing so before you actually date a co-worker will clear up a lot of confusion and headaches down the line.

Remain professional

Once you’ve given the matter some thought and discussed any issues with your romantic partner, the next step is to keep a professional demeanor in the workplace. For instance, you don’t want to look as though you’re providing preferential treatment, which could actually jeopardize your position. You also want to take a conservative approach to public displays of affection when interacting with your partner while at work. While they may be coming from a place of love, you might end up inadvertently offending your co-workers, or in the very least spurring some office gossip.