Office Romance – Pros and Cons of Dating a Co-worker

The recent news of the now-former Toronto mayor John Tory’s affair with a colleague has sent shockwaves through Toronto’s political world, but it has also made many think about the pros and cons of engaging in an office romance with a co-worker.  After finishing school, the workplace then becomes the location that the majority of people most frequently meet other new people.  As a result, there are naturally a number of office romances that develop, which can become a real issue in certain situations.

Before entering a relationship with a colleague, both parties should review their employer’s workplace policies, codes of conduct or other similar documentation. While not all employers have policies on office romance, it is good practice for employees to consult such documents to determine if there is a policy in place on workplace relationships to then ensure that both parties are adhering to the policy (if applicable).  If a policy exists, the policy will often require both parties to disclose the relationship to human resources to ensure that there is no inappropriate abuse of power in the relationship.

A power imbalance in an office relationship

Regardless of whether there is a policy in effect on workplace relationships and office romance in general, both parties should exercise serious caution in situations where one party to the relationship is subordinate to the other. A power imbalance in the relationship was a primary reason why John Tory resigned as a result of his affair. By way of example as to why a power imbalance is a serious issue in such a relationship, think of a situation where the subordinate party may not be engaged in the relationship consensually if they feel that their employment may be in jeopardy if they do not agree to the relationship. This would obviously be a very serious concern for the parties and employer.

If you are involved in a workplace relationship and are uncertain as to how it may affect your employment, you should seek legal advice to better understand your legal rights. We at Whitten & Lublin are happy to provide insight and advice into your specific circumstances.  If you are looking for employment lawyers and would like more information about what Whitten & Lublin can do for you, please contact us online or by phone at (416) 640-2667 today.

Author: Nasyr Asmi