Workplace dating may be on the decline

Is office romance dead?

Don Ames
July 19, 2019 - 10:20 am

It's always been a bit of a sticky issue, but office dating has become even more difficult lately...and problematic for employers. 

Some major companies have introduced workplace dating policies, with one major caveat. Google and Facebook, for example, now have a policy allowing for their employees to date, but stating that a coworker can only ask out another equal-level coworker just one time.

UNO business professor Mark Rosa says that may stop persistence before it becomes a problem, but it doesn't solve all the problems.

"You have problems with correctly identifying an equal level co-worker," says Rosa. "Say tomorrow, somebody gets promoted. 'We were okay yesterday...we were on equal footing and we had a similar place on the organizational chart. But now, somebody's got a promotion and they're a supervisor. Now what do we do?'" 

And then, of course there's the #MeToo movement, and something called sexual harassment.

But at Google and Facebook, an employee gets one shot, and that's it. No romantic pursuit...the chase, if you will. Rosa says, in this case, persistence does not pay off. 

"Persistence becomes harassment in some people's minds, and then it gets into HR and the company could be held significantly financially liable."

Rosa says companies are concerned about a couples' affection affecting workplace conditions...not only during their relationship..but, afterwards, as well.   

"What happens if there's a breakup and somebody can't work within the same proximity of someone that they used to date and it was problematic in their breakup and who knows what happens?"

All in all, Rosa says the #MeToo movement with its sexual harassment suits and such have pretty much put the kibosh on cupid in the cubicle.

Love may be found in a multitude of places, but it doesn't seem to be thriving in the business world.

"I think it's very difficult within the workplace, and it's getting more difficult. I don't think you have a lot of co-workers that are dating. I know many people have said 'I just don't date people at work,' and that's probably the easiest thing to do."

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