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A Workplace Romance Can Be Detrimental to Your Career

Over 70% of single employees will become romantically involved with someone they work with at some point in their career. The workplace has become the new single's bar. The workplace has also become the number one place for cheating spouses to meet affair partners and conduct extramarital affairs.

Proceed with caution if you're attracted to someone on your job and are considering engaging in a workplace romance. As tempting as it may be to date someone from work, the risks far outweigh the rewards. An office romance could cause you legal problems, public embarrassment, and could be detrimental to your career.

Legal Complications

If your workplace lover becomes involved in a corporate scandal, you could be named as an accomplice, or hauled into court as a government witness. Consider the examples below:

? U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones, the judge in the trial of ex-WorldCom chief executive Bernard J. Ebbers, ruled that star witness Scott Sullivan can be questioned about his marital infidelity because it speaks to his character for truthfulness.

? Book publisher Judith Regan may be forced to testify about her affair with Bernard Kerik who withdrew his name from Homeland Security nominee in the midst of numerous allegations of personal and professional improprieties.

? Testimony from three former mistresses helped put Nathan Chapman away for 7 ½ years for defrauding Maryland's state pension fund system and looting his three publicly traded companies.

These are just three of the recent examples of how a workplace romance can become public knowledge, much to the embarrassment of those involved.

In addition, males in supervisory positions who become romantically involved with female subordinates run the risk of becoming the subject of a sexual-harassment suit if the woman later claims to have been coerced or pressured into the relationship for fear of her job. For that reason many companies now forbid romance between bosses and subordinates. Others companies require persons who are romantically involved to sign consensual relationship agreements ? also known as "love contracts" - which state that the relationship is voluntary.

Career Complications

Aside from legal issues, if you're tempted to date your boss, consider the negative impact a workplace romance could have on your career. If the romance ends badly, some very unpleasant things can occur. Your ex-lover has the ability to undermine your career in ways you can't even begin to imagine. Why take a chance?

Below are some of the day-to-day and long-range career complications that can result from a workplace romance:

? Envious co-workers may become jealous and attempt to sabotage your work.

? Your productivity or the productivity of those around you may suffer.

? You could become the subject of office gossip

? If your office romance results in preferential treatment with regard to work assignments, raises, promotions or company perks your co-workers will resentment you.

? A series of office romances will earn you a reputation as someone who tries to sleep their way to the top.

? You may be transferred to another department or even required to leave the company, especially if you are a woman. When an office affair becomes a problem, it's usually the woman who is penalized.

? It could create an awkward situation when the romance ends, and the two of you still have to work together.

? If you end the relationship and the other person is vindictive, they can sabotage your career in ways you can't even begin to imagine.

? A disgruntled lover can negatively influence the kind of work assignments, raises, and opportunities for advancement you receive.

? Your coworkers' perception of your work performance may be lowered.

? No matter how hard you work, there will always be speculation about whether or not your raise or your promotion was a reward for sexual favors.

If you're currently involved in a workplace romance, or you're tempted to get involved in one despite the warnings, do your utmost to keep things on a professional level. There are guidelines to help you minimize any possible damage to your career. To receive a copy of the tip sheet "How to Keep Your Office Romance on a Professional Level", send an e-mail to with "Office Romance" in the subject line.

© 2005 Ruth Houston

About Ruth Houston:

Infidelity expert Ruth Houston is the author of Is He Cheating on You?- 829 Telltale Signs, a comprehensive guide which documents practically every known sign of infidelity. She has been quoted in the New York Times, the Toronto Sun, Cosmopolitan and numerous other publications; and has been a guest on over 100 radio and TV talk shows in the US, Europe, the Caribbean and South America. For more information, visit her website

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