General Question

CupcakesandTea's avatar

Can my boss tell me who I can and cannot date if there is no policy about it?

Asked by CupcakesandTea (353points) June 20th, 2010

I am dating a guy at work that my boss cannot stand for whatever reason it may be. We have been trying to keep our relationship quiet but somehow it got back to the boss that we are together. So my boss calls me to his office and basically tells me if I value my career then I would end the relationship. He called my guy in his office and told him the same thing. There are not any policies against co-workers dating (heck some of them are married to each other!). Can he really do this and get by with it? Isn’t this harassment? I know for a fact that this wouldn’t be an issue if I was dating any other person at work. Can he really hurt my (and his) career and get by with it?

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9 Answers

chyna's avatar

I would call the human resources department and find out from them exactly what the policy is and tell them what your boss has said to both of you. This conversation needs to be documented.

dpworkin's avatar

What @chyna said, and speak with an attorney – you may have grounds for a suit for damages.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I agree with @chyna. If there is not a policy against dating co-workers, it’s none of your boss’s business. Have HR document what you boss said, have your boyfriend tell his side of the story as well so they can document it from both of your perspectives.

cookieman's avatar

I agree with all of the above, but I would add…dust off and update your resume and throw some feelers out there for a new job. Just in case.

Never assume that just because your boss is “wrong” that you won’t end up on the short end of the stick.

john65pennington's avatar

I also agree with all of the above. you need to do your homework and locate all the policies and procedures for you employment. you need ammunition to fight back with in this case. if your work is not being interferred with your relationship and policy does not forbid it, then you have a defense. you will probably need an attorney, especially if your boss adds fuels to the fire and decides to terminate either one of you. gather written evidence. its valuable for you.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

If there is no policy about dating a co-worker, then what is your supervisor’s reasoning? If the company doesn’t have an HR dept., I’d suggest going to the owner of the company about the matter. If I were the owner, I would want to have a discussion about the situation.

If all else fails, it may be time to look for another job, either within the company or outside. Personally, I wouldn’t want to report to someone that ruled by his/her own policies and not those of the company.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

If asked if I was dating a co worker then I’d ask, “am I in trouble of any sort? Did your boss give you any hints as to why the match is such an afront? You say it wouldn’t be an issue if it were anyone else there you were dating so something must be an issue, a past reputation, a past incident, a lawsuit maybe? Who knows but there’s usually something to a rumor and I wouldn’t want to bank a valuable job on someone I “date”. If this is a serious relationship you’ve formed enough to where you feel you know and trust your partner and want to go to bat for them then do a coin toss as to who will start scouting for a new job first. From experience I can tell you there’s a world of difference between a relationship others support and back as far as feeling secure and welcome on the job and one you keep on the down low, one you worry about enough to not feel welcome at work or at work/social functions.

drClaw's avatar

I agree that getting a clear explanation of your companies policy and documenting the conversation is going to be something you want to do. Now I don’t know how political your office is, but I would be careful about what you do after getting your clarification/documentation. I say this because maybe your boss did cross a line, but as you explained it (or as I read it) he didn’t blatantly threaten your job and a counter attack at this juncture may be too aggressive. All I’m saying is don’t escalate the situation until you know you’re holding all the right cards.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Depending upon what state you live in, you may have legal recourse IF it comes down to some sort of retaliation for dating your co-worker, and IF you can prove that the actions taken by your boss were in retaliation for doing so. You would be well-advised to tape all future converstaions with your boss, especially those on this topic ( video would be even better ).

In some states there are laws which attempt to regulate what your boss is trying to do. The problem lies in proving intent on the boss’ part.

Good luck!

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