Dating a employee

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Traditional places like church, family events, and leisure time activities don’t present the same pool of candidates as they did in earlier times.

The workplace provides a preselected pool of people who share at least one important area of common ground.

At the time, it seems simple: You're attracted to someone at work, and he or she is attracted to you.

You share the same hours and some of the same interests. But getting intimate with an employee is deceptively complicated.

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.

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

He's also a former talk radio host (KTLK AM 1150 at Clear Channel) and an entrepreneur himself, as the founder of Legal Endeavor.

Add in that you write the schedules, assign stations, issue reprimands and write-ups: In other words, you control the situation. At some point in your career, you may find it very tempting to have a drink, then date, or (in corporate language) fraternize with your employees. (There are no secrets in the restaurant business.) Eventually, someone will confront you.But a lot of companies don't let the rank and file decide--they adopt policies that ban or limit workplace dating--all in the name of lowering liability.Enforcing these policies can take their toll on a company. Earlier this year, Best Buy's chief executive, Brian Dunn, stepped down after an investigation by the board discovered he had shown "extremely poor judgment" with a 29-year-old female employee.It can lead to everything from a loss of respect among your staff to a sexual harassment lawsuit.In short, it can be one of the most serious threats to a restaurant manager's career.

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