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Basic rules for office romances

With Valentine's Day passing last week, it is appropriate to talk about office romances. After all, Valentine's Day may be the beginning of relationships that may spawn from spending so many hours in the office together.

Who can't resist the lure of brand new office romances? They are cute and darling; especially when people go to great lengths to keep it a secret. But these relationships may only be cute when they involve people of the same rank. Things may be viewed differently when the romance is between a supervisor and a subordinate. Essentially, there are potential legal problems that can arise.

Because of this, there are a number of things that romantically involved co-workers should do to avoid trouble in the office. This post will highlight a few of them. 

Don't actively publicize the relationship - We noted that people can't resist new office romances because of the gossip and speculation that comes with them. If you are in a clandestine relationship,  you may not know your reputation may be affected or how a breakup may affect the office.

Don't date direct reports -Even if the romance is consensual, a relationship that goes bad could lead to a sexual harassment suit. So regardless of if you are a man or a woman, dating direct subordinates should be avoided.

Consider other business relationships - As we alluded to earlier, an office romance may affect other professional relationships outside the office.

Avoid traveling for business together - What may seem to be a good idea for a romantic getaway (after business is concluded, of course) the questions surrounding expenses for a hotel, dinner and other expenses may not be worth the scrutiny.

The preceding is not legal advice.

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