Dating my subordinate


Dear Leather and Lace: Robert is a charming and intelligent year old who is also single. We both work late, and often find ourselves closing up the office together.

Despite our obvious age difference, we seem to have a lot in common. First we there was some harmless flirting which led to some long, personal conversations before we went our separate ways, alone.

Have a Romantic Relationship with Subordinate

But last night, Robert took things a step further and asked me out on a real date! Is it realistic or even fair for me to encourage this type of relationship? What do you think? There is a lot of disagreement about whether dating co-workers or worse, a boss, is acceptable, but plenty of people hook up at work.

I’m the Boss. Is it Ok to Date My Subordinate?

Bill and Melinda Gates did, and she dated the boss! But also, you also need to consider if you really have something in common other than you work late together and make nice companions.

There is, after all, a fairly significant difference in both your age and your work status. If you met Robert outside of your job, would you really be attracted to him enough to date him? Do you think he would be that interested in you?

Your Answer

Could his main interest in you be that he sees you as a fast track to a promotion? Under some office policies you can actually be fired for dating a co-worker. An intended relationship with any co-worker, but especially a younger one, could be considered inappropriate and make the rest of your staff, very uncomfortable. It could also be considered sexual harassment.

Even the most discreet of office romances is bound to become public knowledge soon enough. Can you handle being the prime topic of office gossip?


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Both of you will need to develop a thick skin to withstand the criticism that might occur. How would I feel if I knew someone else in my department was openly dating a subordinate? There are also some practical matters. Would being near Robert all day and night be just a bit too close for comfort? Another issue is your work status vs.

Eventually, Robert may have to move out to move up, or even relocate. If you two were still a couple, would you support him both emotionally and perhaps, financially? If there is a big difference in your salaries, could that cause problems? How will you handle socializing with his friends who will be much younger and possibly also even your junior staff?

Would that be awkward for him?

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I'm the boss, can I date my subordinate

Would your friends accept Robert as a social equal? But what about the technical point, which observers were quick to point out, that Letterman was not the boss of the CBS employees with whom he got involved, because he works for his own company, Worldwide Pants? But employers absolutely must strive to discourage relationships in which the lower-level employee might feel pressured to begin or continue a romance with a powerful company employee. In both cases, and dozens of others, the high-profile, powerful person suffered a job loss at worst and a damaged reputation at the very least.

But the impact on the lower-level partner, and the workplace as a whole, can be far greater. If the relationship ends, or the less-powerful person moves to end it, he or she will perceive any negative treatment at work—a poor evaluation, denial of promotion, disadvantageous transfer, or another step—as retaliation.


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Another consequence can be that co-workers of the lower-level person involved in a relationship with a powerful person perceive favoritism—that, while the relationship lasts, the romantic partner gets less work, more privileges, and so on. Act now to prevent the damage, says Miller. Like romances everywhere, some workplace romances go wrong. So what should employers do? RadDatePicker Open the calendar popup. The email you enter is not public, shared in anyway, or displayed on this site.

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