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.
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.
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.
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).
For those of you considering an office relationship with a married coworker, here’s some sage advice: Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.
To avoid some of these consequences, Brownlee says you’re better off asking out someone in a different department vs. Remember that During Business Hours, Work Comes First If you decide to pursue the relationship, set up some ground rules before things get too serious, says Brownlee.
Think of the discussion as “a prenup for dating,” she says.
If things turn south, the last thing you’ll want is someone gossiping about your private life or what you said about your boss after a particularly tough performance review.
Also, consider how much you’d continue having to work with the person after breaking up—or even how regularly you’re likely to run into him or her at work functions or around the water cooler.
“I was working crazy hours as a marketing executive, usually over 70 hours a week,” says Scott Valdez, 25-year-old CEO of Virtual Dating Assistants, which functions a bit like an electronic yenta.