Dating a Coworker
First things first. Know the legal definition of sexual harassment. Check out the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Sexual Harassment page. This is something you should already be very familiar with if you are in a management position. However, all individuals should understand what constitutes sexual harassment in order to protect themselves and others.
It’s a common philosophy you should never date the people you work with. I think that’s a bunch of hooey. Who do you have more in common with than the people you work with?
Some companies have guidelines for the disclosure of romantic relationships in the workplace. Cool. Follow the guidelines.
If you get involved with someone you manage, your company’s guidelines may require one of you to transfer to a different department. Cool. Do it. And do it quickly. Don’t open yourself up to the possibility your behavior may constitute sexual harassment because you’re in a position of authority over your partner.
How and when should you share your romantic involvement with others you work with? If your company has guidelines for disclosure, follow the guidelines. Otherwise, it’s up to you and your partner. I wouldn’t recommend keeping it a secret indefinitely, however. Secrets come out. People guess. People gossip. It’s preferable when you and your partner have control of how the information is shared.
How should you interact with your partner at work? Like you interacted with your partner at work before you became romantically involved. In other words, maintain professionalism. I recommend no demonstrations of romantic affection. It makes me uncomfortable to see that in my coworkers, and I’m probably not unique in that. If I see physical interaction of a sexual nature, yuck. I am likely to report it to my manager.
Lover’s spat? Keep it out of the workplace. Maintain professionalism.
All that being said, yes, it can be complicated to date a coworker! But if he’s right for you, why pass up the opportunity for something really incredible? Go for it!