“I married my secretary!” Tell us how you handle workplace romances

The heart wants what it wants

Mad Men's Roger Sterling (John Slattery) married his secretary, Jane Siegel (Peyton List). (AMC Networks)

Mad Men’s Roger Sterling (John Slattery) married his secretary, Jane Siegel (Peyton List). (AMC Networks)

Our colleagues at are looking for your opinion on how you handle office romances — your own, or your employees’. Every issue, we—as in the new, combined PROFIT and Canadian Business—feature the “Crowdsourced” column, where readers chime in with real-world advice on issues affecting entrepreneurs. This issue we want to know how you handle this trickiest mixture of business and pleasure. (Richard Branson, for the record, is all for it, and it could even be good for business.)

Here’s PROFIT senior editor Deborah Aarts explaining:

There’s a reason most HR experts and employment lawyers will emphatically advise against snuggling up to a subordinate.

But on the other hand, the heart wants what it wants. And everyone knows someone who has happily dated an employee with nary an ill effect on the business. (This tends to work out better in entrepreneurial environments, with their more lax approaches to traditional HR rules.) If everyone is professional about it, shouldn’t two consenting adults be able to couple up as they please—even if one signs the other’s paycheques?

It’s a complicated issue—and I don’t profess to have the answer. That’s why I’m opening it up to you. Do you think it’s ever OK for the boss to date an employee? If so, under what circumstances? And what precautions should be taken to minimize any negative effects on the business? If not, what do you recommend that besotted CEOs (and their underlings) do about their feelings?

So far we’ve got lots of interesting feedback—“I married my secretary!” says one; “I cannot imagine a situation with more potential downsides” says another—but we always want to hear more of your insights (and a few hard-learned lessons too). Take a minute to visit now and tell Deborah what you think: How do you handle a workplace romance?