CNN ran a piece about a Congressman dating a lobbyist who interacts with the committee that he is chairman of. Congressman Shuster and Ms. Rubio have been involved since last summer. A clear conflict of interest has not yet been established, but it’s inevitable that we haven’t heard the last of this story. Careers have been destroyed by relationships that were deemed to be inappropriate for a number of reasons, and this revelation could put the Congressman’s reputation and standing in jeopardy.
The topic of dating people that we meet at or through work has always been a highly debated one. Some workplaces have prohibitions against this, though that is less common than it used to be. Others prohibit employees from dating their managers or clients due to the potential for the relationship to have a negative impact on relationships with co-workers, productivity and overall fairness, and other conflicts of interest that could result.
Because the workplace has become a good place to meet people for dating, the rules seem to be relaxing. However, the potential for workplace claims of sexual harassment will always be a reason for employers to have some policy on this. After all, if a manager dates a subordinate, what fall-out might occur if that manager decides to end the relationship? If an employee dates a client, and the relationship fizzles, how might this impact their future working relationship and ability to get the job done effectively?
These are real and justifiable issues that employers and employees alike need to consider and be mindful of. After all, attraction happens and when two people spend a lot of time together in an environment like work, it is easy to see how their day to day interactions could morph into coffee breaks, lunches, drinks after work, and a deeper sharing and desire to get to know one another.
Does this mean you should avoid dating anyone you meet at or through your job? No, it does not. In fact, work is a great place to meet someone you have something in common with, can get to know more about in a safe environment, and will have repeated exposure to, which gives a relationship the chance to grow and develop over time. You just need to keep some things in mind if you decide to travel this path. Want to hear more? Check out my videos on this at: and