Workplace Relationships & Ethics

by Kyra Sheahan; Updated September 26, 2017

Work: it’s where we spend eight hours of our day, five days a week. Some may argue they see work colleagues more than they see their own spouses. Thus, it is inevitable that relationships, friendly or romantic, will manifest in the workplace.

Boundaries

Behavioral boundaries are sometimes touched upon in a business’s code of conduct, but rarely do these codes prohibit relationships among coworkers. In general, businesses prefer their employees do not participate in office romances, but understand that it could happen.

Impact

When two employees are involved in a workplace romance, they are not the only ones in the relationship. Rumors can be hard to avoid in an office setting, and employees often appreciate the entertaining aspect that romances can bring.

Ethics

Workplace relationships can be looked down upon when a question of ethics is posed. If an executive displays romantic feelings towards a subordinate, for instance, this may be considered unethical behavior.

Considerations

In the May 2005 issue of “OfficePro,” Martha McCarty discusses the unwritten rules about managing workplace relationships, arguing that most managers know work contains a social element, but if office romances occur, employees should maintain ethical awareness.

Tips

While at work, employees should refrain from exhibiting behaviors that favor their friends or romantic partners. Remaining neutral and unbiased is the key to having a successful workplace relationship.

References

  • “OfficePro”; Workplace Relationships; Martha McCarty; May 2005

About the Author

Kyra Sheahan has been a writer for various publications since 2008. Her work has been featured in "The Desert Leaf" and "Kentucky Doc Magazine," covering health and wellness, environmental conservatism and DIY crafts. Sheahan holds an M.B.A. with an emphasis in finance.