Monday, May 17, 2010

What Does Steve Phillips Mean for Workplace Relationships?

In the case of Steve Phillips, he was fired after admitting to a relationship with a much younger production assistant. This affair had a much more sordid twist, as the staffer appeared at Phillips’ house and confronted his wife. Phillips claimed that Brooke Hundley became “obsessive and delusional” after he ended the affair. It was also noted that Phillips had a history of sexual involvement with fellow employees and subordinates.

These incidents have created focus on workplace relationships, mostly on those between supervisors and subordinates. The incidents sparked discussion and debate on the consequences of even consensual relationships between manager and employee. Experts stated that even if both parties agreed to the relationship, co-workers could accuse the supervisor of favoritism towards the employee involved in the relationship. Furthermore, the employee could feel as if they have to remain in the relationship to avoid retaliation from the manager.

The case of Steve Phillips served to solidify the fact that it is unwise for supervisors to be romantically involved with subordinates.  Especially when it is a case of a married supervisor involved with a young and single subordinate.  Although workplace romances remain acceptable and even beneficial, relationships between married supervisors and unmarried subordinates typically result in negative consequences.  

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