Controversial Workplace Issues

Office romances are among some of the controversial issues you may face in the workplace.

Office romances are among some of the controversial issues you may face in the workplace.

In life and in business, some issues are as tough to tackle as a pro football linebacker. But not talking about controversial issues like office romances and sexism in the workplace doesn’t make them go away. Being aware of these and other less talked about -- or even taboo -- topics can better equip you to deal with them so they’re less likely to get in the way of your budding career.

Office Romances

The line between where employees’ personal lives end and the corporate interests begin is a bit blurry sometimes. You may think that who you date is none of your company’s business, but you may be wrong. When your romantic life is at odds with company interests, your employer will have a lot to say about it. If a break-up with a coworker makes working together impossible or dating a subordinate or supervisor results in favoritism, those become issues that adversely affect the company interests. Be careful not to let office romances make the quality or reliability of your work suffer. Better yet, check your company’s policies to be clear on what constitutes a fire-able offense to stay on the safe side.

Social Media Savvy

According to a 2012 report from Proskauer Rose, more companies are adopting policies regarding their employees’ use of social media. That’s because what you post on Facebook or tweet to your followers goes from being your personal business to your company’s business when it adversely affects their image. Again, the line between what’s personal and what’s business gets blurry. Refrain from posting anything on social media sites that divulge company practices or strategy or that can negatively reflect your company’s image.

Favoritism & Nepotism

While we’d all like to think it’s what we know -- more than who we know -- that helps our careers advance, that’s not always the case. Most companies don’t tout that favoritism or nepotism is a part of their practices, for fear of gaining a reputation for being less-than-fair. But that doesn’t mean the two issues don’t exist. While you should always be prepared to navigate office politics when it comes to moving up the corporate ladder, watch for and identify favoritism and nepotism in your workplace.

Discrimination

It may seem like discrimination based on issues of age, gender, race, political or religious affiliation and sexual orientation are things of the past, but they are, unfortunately, still alive and well in today’s workplace. While we’ve come a long way in terms of equal rights, when these forms of discrimination rear their heads, they are almost always subtle so those practicing them are less likely to be thought poorly of or punished. Fortunately, there are laws in most places protecting people from discrimination. Consult with your Human Resources department or the authorities if you find these issues at your workplace.

 

About the Author

Jennafer Martin has more than 14 years of experience in writing, editing and brand management for literary, business-to-business and consumer publications. She is a writer for Zoe Soul Spa and "Pets in the City" magazine.

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