Workplace Romance-Ethical Dilemma

Published 19 Aug 2017

The workplace is rife for intrigues and drama which, oftentimes, is a lot like life imitating art. Office work today has never been as stressful and draining in most respects of an individual’s life that many organizations and business establishments offer what they call, work-life initiatives. Despite many novel programs like these to help ease the burden of work and the strain on the individual, many ways that people cope still include the choice of developing intimate relationships (whether “legal or illegal”) which may start off with subtle to the more aggressive flirtations.

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No company or organization is immune to romantic developments among or within some of its constituents. The policies that govern workplace behavior are varied as they are difficult to be consistent in their implementations most of the time. Some companies, according to Tudor (2001) offer a general ban that prohibits relationships that are not only inappropriate, but even relationships that may sooner or later, influence the work performance and decision making options, as well as impact the whole organizational set-up. At the same these companies mete out penalties (often severe and drastic) for those who do not see these policies as worth following.

Offices put in place some strict policies on workplace dating (which seemed harmless enough especially for legitimate single persons), and on inappropriate behavior between employees and between superior and subordinate. One of those important and basic reasons that must be looked into by anyone in the organizational leadership is the looming problem of possible litigation and/or lawsuits. What employers usually should protect their company and themselves from are sexual harassment cases and possible loss of employees who are key players and contributors to the better productivity of the company (Tudor, 2001). Why the ethical dilemma: precisely because, on the one side, people’s relationships cannot just be easily restrained for the interest of the company, but on the other side, more vital relationships are at stake; i.e. the spouses and the family. . In addition, another potential problem could be a lawsuit due to a form of discrimination when couples are banned to establish and continue their relationships. What might be possibly jeopardized in the future include the company’s reputation or credibility especially when sex-related scandals erupt later on. If ever office romance is allowed (the benign variety), the best possible manner of approaching such situations would be dialogue or a simple reminder between management or supervisors and the couples concerned, about their conduct, both on and off the corners of their workstations (Tudor, 2001).


  • Tudor, Thomas R. 2001. Managing Workplace Romances. SAM Advanced Management Journal.
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