Romance at Work

Workers complain about policies that prohibit dating and loudly proclaim that it is an infringement of their human rights. Others ask, “What ever happened to democratic principles?” It is only after the relationship is over that employers and employees willingly agree with the basic principal of having a policy against dating in the workplace.

The corporate world is not democratic. This may be difficult to understand, but it’s true. Benevolent dictatorships, perhaps. Paternalistic management, perhaps. Maybe even more fair than unfair. But democratic, no. Even with “empowerment”, someone always has more power than another. So, don’t call your union: dating co-workers is not protected as any kind of right—civil or otherwise.


There are two types of policies on dating or establishing relationships in the workplace. First, there is the anti-nepotism policy: “While we appreciate referrals of relatives, we cannot hire when there is or will be a direct or indirect reporting relationship between the parties.”

The second policy, non-fraternization, is much more direct and perhaps draconian, at least from the perspective of the dating population. “If a personal relationship creates conflicts of interest, causes dissension, interrupts the work flow of the parties or other employees, or creates a negative work environment, one or both parties may be asked to resign from the company.”

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Sheldon Marks
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