Happy Valentine’s Day! (almost)
Psychology Today had a great article by social psychologist and professor Theresa DiDonato about nine questions one should ask oneself before starting a workplace romance. Of course, the article was written primarily from a psychological point of view, but I think the same questions work from a legal standpoint. Here are Professor DiDonato’s questions, with my “legal/HR” answers.
No. 1: Why are you thinking of mixing love and work?
Why, indeed! If things don’t work out, it’s going to be awkward, and that awkwardness can create a fertile ground for claims of sexual harassment or retaliation. There is also the problem of actual or perceived favoritism. Given all of this, I don’t want to tell you that you can’t have a workplace relationship, but if you work closely together, you might want to refrain unless you are absolutely certain that (a) he or she is the love of your life and you will be getting married, or (b) this is a very casual relationship on both sides that will end amicably with no hurt feelings. (That large area in the middle is where much of the legal danger lies.)