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Having one two many drinks at the office Christmas part is one thing, but becoming romantically involved with a colleague – or your boss – is something else entirely. Engaging in an office romance is risky business, and if you don’t know your workplace policy, akin to setting sail on uncharted waters.People management specialist Karen Gately, from Richmond, Victoria, has revealed to FEMAIL the golden rules you need to follow before getting amorous with a colleague, and how to get out unscathed is the romance turns sour.
Before you start planning a future together, make sure the feelings you have for your colleague are mutual. Never assume ‘playing hard to get’ is a signal to try harder when in fact, it’s a sure sign to back off.
If you’re only looking for a good time be careful not to leave a trail of broken hearts, and trust, in your wake. Dating a lot of different people at work or engaging in an extramarital affair can impact how people view your ability to conduct yourself respectably.
If the steamy kiss at the work Christmas party has turned in to something more, be careful how you handle your blossoming romance in the office. While the ‘honeymoon’ phase of a relationship can seem all-consuming, it’s important to never allow your romance to encroach on company time, disrupt the office environment or stand in the way of you getting your job done.
Public displays of affection and overt flirting are rarely received well, and while you may be excited, make sure you keep in mind how other’s see your behaviour. And lastly if the relationship turns sour, keep it between yourselves. No matter how upset you may be, most people are unconformable with a couple bickering and arguing at work.
While there are no laws that specifically govern office romances, sexual harassment legislation is very relevant.
Put simply, sexual harassment is any unwanted or unwelcome sexual behaviour which makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated, and the laws are applicable in the office, at work related events and even between colleagues outside of work. Some types of sexual harassment may also be offences under criminal law and should be reported to the police.
If your office romance does take a turn for the worse, some people will use whatever avenue available to them to have their revenge. Make sure to not give someone the ammunition to unfairly accuse you of sexual harassment when the real nature of your relationship is in fact consensual.
Some companies actively discourage their employees from getting romantically involved out of fear of collusion and ‘pillow talk’. It’s neither appropriate nor accepted in most circumstances for someone to report to a person they are romantically involved with.
No matter how much you think you both have the maturity to ‘handle it’, the harsh reality is you will need to choose between your job or relationship; or the decision is likely to be made for you.
This might means change departments or leaving the business.