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Can I date a co-worker?

February 8, 2018

Dear Someone Else’s Dad,

I’m a 28-year old heterosexual male who works for a large company.  HR had us all watch some videos about sexual harassment in the workplace.  The scenarios were obvious and boring. Still, they scared the crap out of me because it made me feel I can’t even ask a woman I’m attracted to at work out to dinner because I fear if that if I say even something like “you look really nice” I could be reprimanded and lose my job.  Am I not allowed to date anyone from work anymore?

 

Thanks,

Losing My Game

 

Dear LMG,

We live in interesting times.  The #MeToo movement has brought the topic of what is and what is not acceptable in the workplace to the headlines, and for good reason.  One lesson is that people cannot use their power at work to take advantage of anyone, sexually or otherwise. 

 

If there’s mutual attraction between two people, why not explore things a bit outside the office, as long as there’s no HR policy against it?  Some warnings though:

  1. Take it slowly.   Get together out of the office, and try to talk about non-office-related topics to see if there’s really a match.

  2. Keep it private at first.  If things start to progress, avoid over-sharing on social media where other co-workers lurk, and avoid longing glances over the conference table (or other goings-on under the table).

  3. Avoid messy break-ups.  Be prepared on what to do if things go south.

  4. Stay away from power plays.  That means no hookups or more with the boss.

 

Best,
Someone Else’s Dad

 

 

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