Written by Peter Post

My boss and one of the team leaders in my company are having a personal relationship. It started as an affair, but has continued after the boss’s divorce. This relationship is causing problems for other people at work. The team leader gets first pick of any new work, even if she doesn’t have the skills to do it, and if someone asks her to do something she doesn't want to do, she refuses and says to talk to the boss (her boyfriend) about it. I’ve raised this situation with my vice president, but he tells me I'm imagining things. I’m now thinking about resigning and getting a job somewhere else just to escape the situation. Still, I’ve worked hard for the company and I don't see why I should be forced to quit because of the boss and his girlfriend.

Your question speaks volumes about the problems with office romances. You don’t say whether your company has a policy about relationships between coworkers. Many do, precisely to avoid the kinds the issues you raise.

Talking to your vice president on your own doesn’t seem to have worked. If other colleagues also are affected, you can try getting them to agree to meet with your vice president as a group to discuss the situation. You’ll need several people, and you should come prepared with specific examples of the problems you’ve mentioned. If no one else is willing to take an active role and your company has no policy regarding office liaisons, you may have no where else to turn. If you cannot abide the situation, then your only option may be to start looking elsewhere for a job.

Source: Post, Peter, “Etiquette at Work,” Boston Globe

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