Recently, one of my friends told me she was shocked her boss has left his wife to start a relationship with one of his assistants. “It gives our company a bad publicity” she says. Unfortunately for her, work relationships are very common. A recent survey by Careerbuilder said that 36% of people admit they already had a relationship with one coworker, and 22% with their boss That doesn’t mean these are well accepted. In some companies, it is forbidden to have a relationship with your boss or your coworker. People can get fired for that. But it’s not the case everywhere. It depends on the policy of the company.
In my company, there are no rules. My boss is in a relationship with our head of marketing . They publicly revealed their relationship last year, during our office party, where they were kissing each other and holding hands, to much of our dismay. It just shocked some of my female coworkers, who remembered that the previous year, our boss was accompanied by his then-wife. Some of my coworkers are also together. At our last office party, our photography director appeared inseparable from a tall blonde who works as a secretary for our boss.
In some companies, people are asked to sign a love contract when they are hired, in which they commit to reveal their possible future union(s). This kind of transparency can be damageable because depending of the policy of the company, you can be fired or asked to work for another department. No one wants to see intimacy at work. And also, it can spark jealousy if you are in a relationship with your boss, because people will suspect you have an advantage over your coworkers.
But I can’t understand why is it forbidden to have a relationship with your boss or your coworker, because with the evolution of the society, women are more and more gaining their independence, as they work, and are not a housewife most of the time. As a friend says, you spend most of your time at work, where temptations are high.
But there’s also a reason why it is forbidden to have a relationship at work: harassment. Company that forbids work relationship try to avoid situation where those who have power over a team abuse their power. Luckily for me, in my company, my boss and superiors never use their power to destroy my career because I refuse their advances. They never made any unwanted proposals to me. Some companies want to avoid this because it’s easier to prevent that to have a problem with harassment, as there’s a law in my country against it.