Companies dating policies’ condemn couples

Favoritism exists in all forms, not only in workplace love affairs


I’m hoping that no one was turned off by all the mistakes and changed content in last week’s column and that readers will continue to relate with my relationship and sex complaints week to week. To draw you all back in, I fully intended to write my column this week about one-night stands. But something came up.

I worked at a movie theater. The keyword is worked. That was before company policy forced me to quit my wonderful job. Apparently, it is frowned upon for an employee to date a manager. Strongly frowned upon. At least that is how our general manager explained it to my boyfriend, the assistant manager.

But to me, he said: “This is something we cannot have, and we have to fix it. You have two weeks to decide, and then I will have to decide for you.”

I felt like a little kid getting scolded by my parents for doing a no-no. I wasn’t being treated like a semi-adult working a serious job or even a part-time job. No, I needed a strong talking to, something like a verbal spanking.

My options: quit my job, get transferred to another theater and do the whole new employee thing again, or break up with my boyfriend.

Ah, the things we do for love. Sure we’ve only been dating a short time, but is it really necessary to break up over a part-time job? I only worked there for the free movies anyway. Or better yet, is it really necessary to make me quit because of it?

Companies act as if favoritism doesn’t exist already between managers and employees, even those that aren’t officially “boyfriend/girlfriend.” Take that one manager that showers her favorite with excess hours, lets him slack off at work, leave early and arrive late free of punishment. We’ve all been there. We cannot separate our emotional feelings from the workplace.

And favoritism isn’t always about romance. There are those guys that go have drinks after work, go clubbing and hang together when they aren’t on the clock. And then there are the girls that meet to watch movies or go shopping. Don’t all of them get a little leeway, too?

Eventually, companies will have to face the fact that people work together and that they don’t remove their romantic or friendly feelings just because they are clocked in. How many people meet their significant other in the professional environment?

Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise. Courtney Cox Arquette and David Arquette. Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Chad Michael Murray and Sophia Bush. Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy.

Okay, so maybe those aren’t the best examples, but it just goes to show that relationships aren’t screwing up work environments. It’s like dating a classmate. And as far as I can tell, professors don’t really have a problem with that. So, what’s so wrong with an employee dating a co-worker?

Favoritism aside, managers always worry about the fallout after a horrendous break-up. What happens when he lies and breaks her heart, like he inevitably will?

Nothing. If we’re grown up enough to be in a romantic relationship in the workplace to begin with, then I think we are mature enough to handle the post-break-up tensions. Been there, done that.

And if that’s the issue, worry about it when it happens. Don’t doom my relationship from the beginning. He really could be my lobster.

But, oh well, I have to find a new job now.


(Originally written 2.8.2006)


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