Posted on February 13, 2020 in Consulting

I want to share a few quick thoughts on how to make Valentine’s Day work appropriate so that romance remains out of the workplace.

1. Practice workplace TMI Some topics should never be discussed at work: romance, dating, and (of course) sex. Sure, we can think of exceptions — not on “sex”. Friends might discuss weekend plans. But we don’t need to hear a report on how the date went. Nor do we require a follow-up on how the relationship is progressing. Some subject matter should always be private and kept away from water cooler gossip. Funny but true story: I discovered one client took this rule exceptionally seriously. The company placed restrictions barring the word “sex” from incoming email, this included my communications as their lawyer. We learned of the issue only after the client never received my email related to work on a sexual harassment claim.

2. Being friends at work is not a license to share every thought Many discrimination and harassment claims begin with a failure to appreciate that friendship is not permission to share every thought. This is easy to envision. The closer you get with someone the more you feel you can share. A man thinks a woman is his friend, so he seeks her advice on dating and his relationships. He goes further and makes comments about wishing she was single. He takes it a step further and buys small gifts. You see where this is going… nowhere positive for the business.

3. No roses at the office Leave the flowers for the wife, significant other, or romantic interest — preferably, who does not work with you.

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