6

I recently started a romantic relationship with one of my coworkers. How do I best inform my boss about the situation?

Background:

  • Our relationship has been growing for ~2 months now, we're both very happy with it and consider it a long-term thing.
  • We work in an IT-focused company in West/Central Europe.
  • She's a normal employee without management responsibilities, I'm about 2 management levels above her.
  • She's not working for me. She's in an adjacent group that my boss also manages, so my direct boss is one of her indirect bosses.
  • 15
    Why do you want to inform your boss? Have you checked what company policy says about this, if anything? – Dukeling Sep 15 '18 at 14:05
  • 3
    My goal is to inform my boss before this information reaches him via the grapevine. We are often coming to the office together and leaving together, and every now and then spend time with other coworkers out-of-office. People do/will notice something is going on eventually. I'd like to be proactive about this and avoid the feeling I'm hiding things. – user92262 Sep 15 '18 at 17:58
  • 2
    a typical policy would be that there can't be a direct reporting relationship, and you can't be in the same team. Check your policy, I guess you'll be fine. – Aganju Sep 16 '18 at 0:19
  • 4
    To the close voters: the OP isn't asking for policy advice but for communication advice. This is on topic. – Monica Cellio Sep 16 '18 at 17:57
  • 1
    @user92262 I think the "gossip" angle is understood, but it would be very helpful to know if your company has any direct rules about such relationships. – user30031 Sep 17 '18 at 20:09
19

How best do I inform my boss about the situation?

My goal is to inform my boss before this information reaches him via the grapevine. We are often coming to the office together and leaving together, and every now and then spend time with other coworkers out-of-office. People do/will notice something is going on eventually. I'd like to be proactive about this and avoid the feeling I'm hiding things.

So you just talk with him.

Find a quiet, private time and say something like "Boss, I wanted you to know about this before you hear it through the grapevine..." Listen to the reaction, and be ready to deal with the consequences, if any.

Honesty is often best.

You might want to do a bit of research about any company policy and local laws regarding this situation before your chat, in case it comes up.

And make sure your friend knows what you are about to do. She has a stake in this and may well be more likely to face consequences than you. You may wish to discuss which of you would leave the company if it should come to that.

  • Thank you! I followed your advice and it went very well. I also want to thank you for your countless answers over the years. Your answers, and the mindset behind them had a big impact on my understanding of the workplace and on my management style! – user92262 Sep 20 '18 at 6:44
3

I would first check your company policies to see if romantic relationships between coworkers are allowed. There are many companies that due to reasons of potential conflicts of interest and or other reasons, company policy expressly discourages / prohibits romantic relationships between coworkers, especially management like yourself, dating a non management employee

If relationships between coworkers are allowed I would be very careful by first conducting yourself exactly how you would with her as with every other employee. Do not show favoritism or bias with her that you would not with another employee. At work, you and her are both employees and should foremost put professional obligations first.

I would also inform my boss as soon as possible. Tell you manager clearly that you are in a romantic relationship with another employee and you will try your best to not let this relationship interfere with professional responsibilities. This shows you are honest and transparent. If I was your boss, I would very much prefer to have you disclose this relationship to me yourself than for me to potentially find out afterwards, and result in otherwise less than favorable consequences for both parties.

  • 1
    it's not the USA, so I don't think it would be legal to discriminate against romantic relationships(though countries might differ). That being said, informal gossip might destroy both careers, and it would be better, as you rightfully point out in your paragraph, to control the communication about the situation. – gazzz0x2z Sep 17 '18 at 8:03
1

First off you need to understand the conditions of your employment. If the organisation frowns upon personal relationships between employees then if you want the relationship to continue you have two options -

  1. Tell your boss as you have indicated above.
  2. One of you should leave the company.

If there is no policy in place regarding personal relationships between employees, then it's nobody's business other than your own. However should the company structure change and your partner shifts into the same department where either of you are responsible to report to the other you should be mindful of potential accusations of nepotism.

We can't help who we fall in love with, however in my experience business and personal relationships best blossom when the two are separated. Just my 2c worth.....

0

I cannot think of any reason why you should tell him (or anyone else) about it. Private/romantic life is nobody's business and I wouldn't also care about any rumors. You don't have to justify your private choices. As long as this does not affect the work of anyone of you it's not important.

  • 1
    I would add "As long as this does not affect the work of anyone and it's not against company policy". – user30031 Sep 17 '18 at 20:06
  • just tell them you already knew eachother before starting to work together. – dfhwze 21 hours ago

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.