In the course of your work, you may find it necessary to flirt with (i.e., "hit on") a coworker and then to maintain an affair. Should this situation arise, please adhere to these guidelines.
Boundaries: Employees should stay in their own leagues. Cross-functional dating is discouraged—and dating between accounting and marketing personnel, or between IT and any other department, is barred. Subordinates may enter into relationships with their superiors at the latter's discretion, though a differential of more than three pay grades may be subject to HR review.
The Morning After: The aftermath of an interoffice one-night stand can be awkward and should be handled with all possible decorum. Remarks that go beyond normal pleasantries (e.g., "Could you get any hotter?" or "You left at 3 a.m., you insensitive moron!") may result in harsh disciplinary action.
Avoidance: Once an office affair has soured, the involved parties will seek to avoid each other at all costs. Short-term strategies include hiding in bathroom stalls or a supply closet. Managers seeking greater productivity in such cases may arrange for telecommuting, therapy (normally covered at 50%), or outplacement.
In-Office Intimacy: While the Company prefers that sexual relations between coworkers occur after hours and off-site, such discretion may not always be feasible. In such cases, please avoid overt displays of affection or cute name-calling. Failure to adhere to this policy may result in dismissal.
Interns: The Company recognizes that liaisons with interns can be extraordinarily appealing. Senior executives should note, however, that today's interns arrive on the job savvy and prepared; many have already secured book agents.
A version of this article appeared in the February 2004 issue of Fast Company magazine.