M7A1: Ethics Paper: Romance at Work

M7A1: Ethics Paper: Romance at Work

There are four ethics papers in the course, each requiring you to review information on a particular ethical issue, seek additional information on the topic, and integrate the course material.

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This paper is due at the end of Module 7 and deals with the issue of romance at work. Specifically, it examines the implications of organizational policies that prohibit such relations as well as workplace situations where no such policies exist.

In October of 2009, David Letterman, host of CBS’s Late Show, revealed to his audience that he was the target of an extortion plot over allegations that he had sexual relationships with female staff members. He also admitted that the allegations were, in fact, true. The case resulted in renewed interest for the issue of workplace romance, though some commentators believed Letterman’s case was more of an abuse of power than romantic relations with colleagues.

Journalists and commentators were quick to point out other famous examples of workplace romances, such as that of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama or between Bill and Melinda Gates. A study from 2000 reported that 80% of American employees surveyed have had a romantic relationship at work. This shows that these types of relationships are prevalent. Employers need to develop strategies for addressing the positive and negative aspects of this issue.

There are conflicting opinions among managers, human resource experts, and the general population regarding office romance and whether or not strict policies (commonly referred to as anti-fraternization or no-dating policies) should be implemented to deal with the potentially serious problems that can occur.

Pick one side of the controversy, making an ethical case for or against allowing romantic relationships in the workplace.
Discuss how companies can address the various issues related to workplace romance.

The resulting paper should be a summary and analysis of the ethical issues involved. Organize your paper into the following sections:

Title page
Table of Contents
Introduction (1–2 paragraphs summarizing the task for this assignment)
Background (brief summary of the debate surrounding workplace romance, the ethics involved, and the side of the controversy you will be taking in the paper)
Analysis (brief analysis of the ethical issues on either side of the debate. Be sure to relate this discussion to the course material and other relevant external resources used)
Conclusion (1–2 paragraph review of your findings)

Your work should be submitted in a Word document, 2–3 pages in length (excluding the title, the table of contents and the references pages), typed double-space in 10- or 12-point Arial or Times New Roman font. The page margins on the top, bottom, left side, and right side should be 1 inch each. Use APA guidelines for citing and reference sources.

See the Course Calendar for due dates.

Keep the following points in mind:

The paper analyzes all the issues related to workplace romance thoroughly and draws connections between related issues.
The paper integrates key concepts from the readings with the analysis of ethical issues.

Compose your work in a .doc or .docx file type using a word processor (such as Microsoft Word, etc.) and save it frequently to your computer. For those assignments that are not written essays and require uploading images or PowerPoint slides, please follow uploading guidelines provided by your instructor.

Check your work and correct any spelling or grammatical errors. When you are ready to submit your work, click “Upload Submission.” Enter the submission title and then click on “Select a file to upload.” Browse your computer, and select your file. Click “Open” and verify the correct file name has appeared next to Submission File. Click on “Continue.” Confirm submission is correct and then click on “Accept Submission & Save.”


This course has Turnitin® fully integrated into the course dropbox. This means that you should only submit your assignments to the dropbox below. Please do not submit your assignment directly to Turnitin.com.

Once submitted, your assignment will be evaluated by Turnitin® automatically. You will be able to view an Originality Report within minutes of your first submission that will show how much of your work has been identified as similar to other sources such as websites, textbooks, or other student papers. Use your Originality Report as a learning tool to identify areas of your assignment that you may not have cited appropriately. You may resubmit your assignment through this dropbox as many times as you need to check to see if you have made improvements, until the due date of the assignment. However, once you have made your first submission, you will need to wait 24 hours after each subsequent submission to receive a new Originality Report. Plan accordingly as you draft your assignment. Once the due date has passed, your assignment submission will be considered final.


This assignment will be graded using the SBT Ethics Discussion Grading Rubric located on the Course Rubrics page within the Start Here section of the course. Please review the rubric prior to beginning your work so that you ensure your submission meets the criteria in place for this assignment. Collectively, these assignments are worth 10% of your final course grade.


Expert Answer

Romance at Work


Table of Contents

Introduction. 3

Why Romantic Relationships Should Not Be Allowed at Work. 3

Conclusion. 4

References. 5


Over the past decade, there have been various cases of controversy arising as a result of romantic relationships in the workplace. Romantic relationships have become prevalent at work in recent years (Boyd, 2010). For this reason, there is a need for employers to come up with strategies to address or deal with the negative and positive aspects of romantic relationships in the workplace. Across the world, there are conflicting views and opinions among human resource professionals, managers, and the society members regarding the issue and whether strict policies should be implemented or adopted to deal with romantic relationships at work. Some people view such relationships as a problem, while others do not (Boyd, 2010). Proposed strict policies against office romance or romantic relationships at work are commonly referred to as anti-fraternization or no-dating policies and have faced support and criticism in almost equal measure in various parts of the world (Biggs et al., 2012). In this paper, the issue of romantic relationships at work is addressed, and propositions are given on how companies and organizations may deal with the issues related to workplace romance.

Why Romantic Relationships Should Not Be Allowed at Work

Even though some relationship experts and counselors recommend finding potential partners and spouses at work, it may be one of the worst places to find a partner. Having a romantic relationship at work can be quite distracting for both parties, especially when the relationship is new (Lickey et al., 2009). People tend to start leaving their work post to spend time with their partners. Others waste a lot of time daydreaming and waiting for breaks so that they can see their partners. A distracted workforce is obviously a problem for any employer since it leads to decreased productivity and dedication to the achievement of the organizational goals. The other problem is that when two people engage in a romantic relationship at work, all their relationship fights will follow them to work. It is normal for couples to fight or disagree from time to time. When both partners work in the same workplace, the disagreement tends to affect how they relate with each other at work, which may affect productivity and the cohesion within the workplace.

It is impossible to avoid the involvement of other coworkers in the business of two workers having a romantic relationship at work. This often breeds a lot of distractions as people gossip and try to find out who is dating who. It will also spark speculations of favoritism, especially where one partner is in management while the other is a subordinate. Such problems affect the productivity and relationships between subordinates and their supervisors. It is also unprofessional. When one is at work, they need to leave their personal, private life at home and give their work 100 percent. This ensures maximum productivity and a good working environment in the workplace, free from distractions.


In order to deal with the issue of workplace romance, companies should address the issue through one of the following ways: the management may institute an anti-fraternization or no-dating policy which defines the conduct that will not be tolerated in the workplace, such as romantic involvement or causal dating (Ariani et al., 2011); the management may allow it but with written disclosure, commonly referred to as the “Love Contract” method – where a signed document is used to confirm a consensual relationship between two workers, notify them of behavior that is not prohibited at work, and provide additional notice of understanding of the sexual harassment policy (Lickey et al., 2009); or the management may allow it but not within the company’s chain of authority or management in order to avoid complaints of favoritism or discrimination.


Ariani, M. G., Ebrahimi, S. S., & Saeedi, A. (2011). Managing workplace romance: A headache for human resource leaders. In 2011 3rd International conference on Advance Management Science, IPEDR (Vol. 19, pp. 99-103).

Biggs, D., Matthewman, L., & Fultz, C. (2012). Romantic relationships in organisational settings: Attitudes on workplace romance in the UK and USA. Gender in Management: An International Journal, 27(4), 271-285.

Boyd, C. (2010). The debate over the prohibition of romance in the workplace. Journal of Business Ethics, 97(2), 325-338.

Lickey, N. C., Berry, G. R., & Whelan-Berry, K. S. (2009). Responding to workplace romance: A proactive and pragmatic approach. The Journal of Business Inquiry, 8(1), 100-119.

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