Editorial

Tech Companies Have Some Pretty Great Rules For Dating Co-Workers

A Wall Street Journal article shed some light on the dating policies among co-workers for major tech companies.

The WSJ reported the following:

One rule at Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google: Employees are only allowed to ask a co-worker out once. If they are turned down, they don’t get to ask again. Ambiguous answers such as “I’m busy” or “I can’t that night,” count as a “no,” said Heidi Swartz, Facebook’s global head of employment law (emphasis added). At Facebook, if a potential date involves a person in a more senior position than the other, the date itself doesn’t necessarily have to be disclosed to HR. Facebook says it trusts its employees to disclose a relationship when there is a conflict of interest. Failure to do so will lead to disciplinary action.

I know that there is going to be some eagerness to jump down the throats of these tech companies, but they’re pretty accurate when they talk about the conclusions from completely ambiguous answers, especially the “I’m busy” line.

That line isn’t even an attempt to hide the fact the real answer is no. We’ve all been there on both sides of that sword. It’s only natural to make up excuse after excuse if you don’t want to come off as mean. The “I can’t that night” seems a bit ridiculous. What if she follows it up saying she’s free on a different day of the week? Is that now no longer allowed? Seems like a pretty gray area to find yourself in.

Look, I’ll be the first to admit that dating or engaging in relations with somebody you see on a regular basis in a mandatory setting, such as work or class, is playing with fire. Everybody I know has an example of this that they can point to with the snap of a finger. Personally, I’ve dabbled with the classmates part (props to me) a few different times. Most of the time it has been just fine afterwards. You have a few beers, share a few laughs and move on. It’s usually not a problem at all, but not always. There can be a serious downside, especially when you’re required to see that individual over and over again.

Now, don’t get confused with what I’m saying. I’m not throwing down the gauntlet and saying you shouldn’t engaged in romantic behavior with classmates or co-workers. I know plenty of people who met their spouse in school or through work. It’s just smart to recognize the risks.

It’s also very true that if somebody says they’re busy, what they’re actually doing is just being too nice to tell you no straight up. Take a second to pause and think before just assuming these rules are complete garbage. Do I agree with them whole heartedly? Of course not, but my cowboys roots and championship mentality would never allow that. I’m simply saying there is a solid point or two here.

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