Rules for dating a work colleague

Even when we weren’t competing directly for jobs or assignments, having a boyfriend in my field had the curious effect of making me less secure in almost every situation.If he said something positive about my work, I figured it was just because he was dating me.As a business owner, you might ask: "Where is the legal issue?

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Just last month, Gary Friedman, the chief executive of Restoration Hardware, stepped down in the middle of the company's public offering. A couple years ago, Hewlett-Packard's chief executive, Mike Hurd, resigned amid accusations of falsifying expense reports to hide a personal relationship with an independent contractor.

The reason: an internal inquiry into his relationship with a 26-year-old female employee. As companies grow and add employees, you will often see signs of budding workplace relationships.

(“You just like this piece because you’re my boyfriend.”) If he said something negative, I assumed he spoke for all of our colleagues.

(“If even don’t like this idea, it must really be terrible.”) I was constantly contrasting my career progress with that of my partners’, and always feeling like I wasn’t moving fast enough or working hard enough.

Despite the increasing general acceptance of intra-office romance, women who date a co-worker are more likely than men to be seen as using the relationship to get ahead at work.

Then there are classic concerns about weathering a breakup with someone in the next cubicle over. Rather than the endless buffet of potential mates on Ok Cupid or at the bar on Saturday night, the workplace offers a limited menu of people who are likely to have similar educational backgrounds and sensibilities. A woman who’s a software developer told me that she hesitated in dating someone else in the startup world — after all, they shared so many contacts and professional opportunities.

If work isn’t work anymore, why would a workplace romance be off-limits?

And what better place to find people who share your passions?

Chas Rampenthal is general counsel and vice president of product development at Legal Zoom.

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