Workplace couples are often romanticized — think Bill and Melinda Gates or Michelle and Barack Obama. But when the relationship involves two people with unequal power, it can also be fraught with peril, especially in the #MeToo era.
McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook is only the latest chief executive to be ousted over a consensual relationship with an employee. Increasingly, U.S. companies are adopting policies addressing workplace romances, a trend that began well before the #MeToo movement galvanized a national conversation surrounding sexual misconduct.
Addressing workplace romance can be complicated, but many companies have removed any gray areas by forbidding managers, especially C-suite executives, from having relationships with subordinates given the potential for favoritism or lawsuits if the relationship sours.
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