Romance in the Workplace: Managing Rumors, Jealousy, and Favoritism


It is a situation every manager hopes to avoid: Complications derived from coworkers dating. Chris has been the managing editor at The Macintosh Gazette for nearly a decade and until now has never faced a situation where coworkers appeared to have a romantic relationship. However, that changed when Kyle, the newspaper’s news editor, was rumored to be dating Jessica, the paper’s new “rising star” reporter. As word spread around the newsroom that the relationship might be romantic in nature, problems started. Other reporters complained that Kyle was showing favoritism toward Jessica. The complaints to Chris continued to increase, and he knew he had to address the situation, though he was not sure what the situation was and how to handle it. When he inquired with human resources, he was told that the newspaper did not have a policy about coworkers dating, but one could possibly be created. Chris did not initially think that was necessary but then found himself in dire search of an unbiased way to address the issue. He remembered learning about Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperatives in an ethics class in college, and thought that using it as a tool could restore peace in the newsroom. At the same time, while feeling a growing pressure to have human resources create a policy, he began finding clues that there might not be any romantic relationship and instead could be a case of reporters being jealous. Is Kyle just playing favorites with the “rising star?”

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