The news on Wednesday that Google cofounder Sergey Brin had become involved with a Google employee and had split with his wife of six years, Anne Wojcicki, highlights the fallout that can result from an office romance.
A spokesman for Brin and Wojcicki told Forbes that the two have been living apart for several months but “remain good friends and partners.” All Things D also reported that, according to sources, they have a prenuptial agreement and that their split and potential divorce would have no impact on Google.
布林和沃西基的一位发言人告诉福布斯：两人已经分居数月但“仍然保持着良好的朋友和伙伴关系”。科技博客All Things D还报道称，据消息人士透露，他们签有一份婚前协议，两人分居甚或是今后可能的离婚都不会给谷歌带来任何影响。
It could be that everything works out fine for Brin, Wojcicki and Brin’s new romantic partner. But lawyers and career coaches say that getting involved with a colleague or boss can turn into a minefield of problems.
Nevertheless, Brin is among a growing number of people who find their love interests at work. According to a 2013 survey by the job search website CareerBuilder.com, 39% of workers say they’ve dated a colleague at some point in their careers.
Nearly a third say they married the person they dated at work. Another career website, Vault.com, found that 59% of respondents had dated a colleague at least once during their career.
The office is a hotbed of romance–and a more effective one than dating websites or the corner bar. Helaine Olen, coauthor with Stephanie Losee of Office Mate: The Employee Handbook for Finding–and Managing–Romance on the Job, says the workplace is where most people find love these days. “The office has turned into the village of the 21st century,” she says. “Where else do you spend 12 hours a day?”
And fewer workers are keeping their romances secret. CareerBuilder found that 65% of workers who had office relationships were public about them, compared with 46% seven years ago. The survey of 4,200 workers was conducted for CareerBuilder by Harris Interactive.
While people are more relaxed about office dating than they were in the 1990s, and Brin and his new love interest may live happily ever after, in many cases, boss-employee relationships end badly. Brin’s relationship raises one of the most obvious issues: the breakup of a marriage.
But another perilous scenario, says employment lawyer Kathleen McKenna of New York’s Proskauer law firm is a sexual harassment suit brought by the underling. Such suits are based on either a claim of a hostile work environment or a charge that there was f-me-or-you’re-fired quid pro quo harassment.
Given that office romance seems to be inevitable, I asked McKenna and another lawyer, plus a career coach, a sociologist and a wise Forbes contributor, for rules that can help ensure that an office romance turns out well.