Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Dating bans in the corporate world

As I have pointed out in previous posts those advocating student-professor dating bans often cite the corporate world as the ideal in their attempt to justify said bans.  Why I have asked should universities invoke the corporate model?  Of course, when it comes to the corporate world all too often their so-called corporate ethics are honored in name only.  Such is definitely the case when business or corporate dating bans are invoked.  Such bans will not work as illustrated in this article, nor should we want them to work.  Corporate employees in general terms should have a right to privacy and freedom of association.  If we can have Coach Jackson and VP Jeanne Buss of the LA Lakers having a “public” dating relationship, why shouldn’t this also apply to line employees?Excerpts from

Love & Company: Workplace Romances Happen, but First Consider the Pitfalls
Source: San Jose Mercury News
Date: 9/9/2007
Sep. 9–When work so dominates the lives of employees that some are forced to catnap under their desks, is it any wonder that love is blooming among the cubicles?Corporate culture has long frowned upon co-workers dating, but as Americans work longer hours, many employees are encountering their new squeeze by the water cooler or copy machine. A 2004 Glamour magazine and lawyers.com survey of 1,747 employees found that 41 percent of Americans between 25 and 40 have engaged in an office romance.Singles are romantically pursuing one another not just in the office but in almost every work environment, even though dating a colleague has its own set of risks and issues.

Nicole Valdez, 29, a bartender at Seven restaurant in San Jose, says she never had any intention of going out with a co-worker — least of all, her boss — when she was hired in 2003. After a few months on the job, a romance was born. Today, she calls her employer, Seven co-owner and chef Curtis Valdez, her husband.

“It’s not something you plan to do,” says Nicole, who married Curtis in June. “It just happens. You never know where you’re going to meet the right person.”

To ensure that work remains the top priority of employees, many companies discourage such intimate fraternizing, and many have dating policies that prohibit a supervisor from going out with a subordinate.

“You shouldn’t use your time in the workplace to facilitate developing a personal relationship,” says couples therapist Ian Kerner, author of “DSI: Date Scene Investigation” (Harper Collins, 2006) “Companies often hold social events, and it’s great to flirt a little with somebody, but you have to respect that this is still a work environment.”  As people become increasingly defined by their work, and as careers take precedence over personal lives, co-workers are going to turn to one another for support — or more, says author Kerner.

The reasons for attraction are obvious: The workplace is often filled with like-minded people sharing common goals and presenting their best side in a professional arena. As the likes of Microsoft founder Bill Gates learned with employee and future wife Melinda French, romantic feelings happen.

“Meeting people via work is only natural,” Kerner says. “People are recognizing that work is a dynamic, vibrant environment for this.”

Clarice Simmons, 41, an Advanced Micro Devices relationship manager, knew of the risks in dating a co-worker when she began seeing a field application engineer named Phil in 1993.

Simmons had witnessed a married regional manager’s downfall when news of his affair with a saleswoman became public through the office grapevine. After co-workers complained about the lovebirds’ behavior, his supervisor confronted him. He denied the relationship. When they uncovered his lie, they transferred him to another office.

“My policy has been to try to keep personal things outside of the workplace because it’s just distracting,” says Simmons, who married Phil in 1994. “So when we decided to get engaged and move in with each other, we told my manager first. He was really happy for us, almost like a fatherly figure.”

But keeping a secret, especially in a bustling office, is not always easy. Therapist Kerner describes a couple he knew, a woman and her male subordinate, who kept their relationship on the down-low at their pet-friendly office.

When she brought her poodle to work, the pooch, normally a miser with its affections, was openly friendly toward the man she was secretly dating.

“The poodle gave it away,” Kerner says. “Remember that there is always going to be something that someone might observe.” …

To see more of the San Jose Mercury News, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.mercurynews.com.

Copyright (c) 2007, San Jose Mercury News, Calif.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

For reprints, email tmsreprints@permissionsgroup.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.


Copyright 2007 San Jose Mercury News

This material is published under license from the publisher through YellowBrix, Alexandria, Virginia. All inquiries regarding rights should be directed to Yello

September 11, 2007 - Posted by | consensual relationships, corporate dating bans, sexual politics

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