Stephanie Regan: 'Why a consensual workplace fling can now cost you your job - even if you are the CEO'
Some people think that the sanctions are too harsh, that romance at work is inevitable and that the whole thing has gone too far.
The issue is that relationships within the workplace are fraught with complications from awkward approaches, to harassment claims.
Whether it is in the office, the classroom, university, or the interview room we all need absolute clarity and these high-profile cases sear that fact into our consciousness and help us to wrestle with the lingering doubts, of who is at fault or if the punishment is too harsh.
When the press announced that Steve Easterbrook was abruptly sacked from his position this week, those rumbling doubts began. In conversations, I was asked "what age was she?" "was he married?".
I could see that the person was having real difficulty seeing what might be wrong in the situation. He thought if the relationship was consensual and since they were both adults, that nothing could be wrong. It's a free country and all that. Lots of people meet their partners at work, he argued.
I think it's really important that we let these doubts come to the surface and give them a good airing rather than shutting them down. We are emerging from a time when a "pat on the bum" was a kind of inverted compliment and there is still confusion out there for many.
It is true that many relationships happen with work colleagues, but everyone recognises the complications that can arise, with awkward breakups that can affect the team ...
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