Office romances in the ‘Me Too' era

- Across the country, women are sending a message about sexual harassment. The ‘Me Too’ movement went viral in 2017 and extends well beyond the entertainment industry. 

"The Me Too movement has shifted behavior in workplaces all across the country very sharply and very quickly," stated political analyst Dr. Susan MacManus.

Words and behaviors in the corporate world are under close watch. 

"It's certainly made people rethink male and female things that they might say, things they might do, places that they might suggest going,” Dr. MacManus continued.

But it can get tricky when workplace relationships become personal.

"You can't hide from it. It needs to be discussed," said Tampa labor attorney Gail Golman Holtzman.

Holtzman said when co-workers do date, full disclosure may not be a bad idea, especially in the era of Me Too.

"Employees should be encouraged to be transparent when those relationships do develop," said Holtzman.

In some cases, employers are enforcing so called love contracts. Co-working couples are asked to sign an agreement, stating that their relationship is voluntary and consensual.

"It's one of the tools in the toolbox that employers have to try to manage these situations to avoid claims of sexual harassment or claims of favoritism or conflicts of interest that can develop from romantic relationships in the workplace," explained Holtzman.

And what if the relationship goes south?

"If an individual feels like the situation is changing, there's unwelcome conduct or something in violation of the policy, that the individual knows to bring it to the attention of the employer and kind of review an acknowledgment of those situations," said Holtzman.

Couples need to be careful when mixing business with pleasure.

"Stay focused on keeping their personal life separate as much as they can when they come into the workplace. Kind of keeping that clear boundary,” Holtzman advised.

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