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3 Popular Culture Office Romances: Appropriate or Not?

Sam and Diane from Cheers
Photo © Bettmann/Corbis

Sam and Diane from Cheers.

Scenario: A business owner makes advances (some rejected, some accepted, some enjoyed) to a lower-level staffer, creating an occasionally difficult work environment.

Verdict: Extremely inappropriate. It doesn't matter whether it's accepted or not accepted. It's inappropriate to put the staffer in that position, just because of the differential positions of power.

 
Jim and Pam from The Office
Photo courtesy of The Office

Jim and Pam from The Office.

Scenario: Co-workers' relationship blossoms into more outside of the office. They try to keep it a secret, but people have their suspicions.

Verdict: They should go to their supervisor and HR to let them know about the relationship. It sounds like it is leading to gossip--it could lead to a distraction.

 

 
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Photo © Simone Cecchetti/Corbis

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Scenario: Two high-wattage actors meet on a movie set and hit it off. One is single; the other is married.

Verdict: It's probably not advisable in terms of the gossip that will occur. But unless the organization has a specific policy of not allowing relationships, then it's probably outside of HR's realm. 

Portland, Ore.-based writer John Patrick Pullen has covered travel, business and tech for publications including Entrepreneur, Fortune, The Magazine, and Wired. Find him at www.jppullen.com.

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This article was originally published in the February 2014 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Fair Affair?.

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