The risk rises when the two members of a couple are on different levels of the org chart.When you hire a lot of passionate, engaging people, a couple of them are bound to hit it off in a way that goes beyond their shared interest in the business.Likely she will act differently, letting others know she is privileged and that they had better not disagree with her.I have worked several places where the boss was dating one of the employees and in two out of three cases, it was a cancer in the workplace.While many organizations take a more relaxed stance toward co-workers dating these days, it can cause trouble when you cross into the realm of manager-subordinate romantic relationships.“Junior-senior relationships in the office can hurt morale and even harm the company if the people involved forget their professionalism,” says Beth P. The relationship can lead to claims of favoritism or cause other co-workers to feel uncomfortable and create a hostile work environment.Global management and strategy consultant Kathleen Brush says when a company she’s working with doesn’t have a policy expressly forbidding superior-subordinate relationships, she lobbies hard to get one in place.“I do this because [relationships] can cause a lot of damage. They are dead ringers for cascading violations of integrity.” One of the major concerns regarding junior/senior dating is that there may be an element of coercion.
To avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, he wants her to report to me instead.
“Additionally, if the relationship ends, one of the employees may claim the relationship was not consensual, that the employee was sexually harassed, or that that employee was retaliated against if that employee receives a poor performance review from the former paramour,” says Zoller.
Many experts say it’s important for companies to have policies in place that address junior-senior relationships.
This policy should reserve the employer’s right to make employment decisions, including transferring or changing lines of communication, Zoller says.
“By doing so, the employer can avoid conflicts of interest that may affect the workplace and other employees and compromise the employer’s own legitimate business interests,” she says.