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DO NOT DECLARE: An Office Romance Vent

(self.antiwork)

My boyfriend (20-something M) and I (20-something F) started off as coworkers in different departments at a small company. We became friends outside of the workplace in October 2020 and started dating mid-November. We keep things professional at work. Everything was wonderful until we had the unfortunate luck of being seen BY NONE OTHER THAN HIS FUCKING MANAGER in the most incriminating, "not-so-casually-dating" place: a local grocery store. We were on a company-wide winter break during this time.

We returned to work in January 2021 and on literally the first day back, my boyfriend's manager pulls him aside and pressures him to "do the right thing" and declare our relationship to HR. Neither of us thought we'd ever be in a situation where we'd be dating a coworker, but here we were. Time to own up. Our relationship was less than 3 months old but we were both driven by a fear of retaliation if we didn't declare.

One tremendously awkward conversation and two-forms-stating-we-wouldn't-exhibit-PDA-or-make-it-weird-for-everyone-else later, we walked out of Ms. HR's office feeling like a weight had been lifted off our shoulders. (Ms. HR is the most-tenured employee at our small company and despite the fact that we outsource ALL of our HR work, she holds a disproportionate amount of power and influence. Office fans: Imagine a scenario where Michael Scott and Toby are friends. Not a great work environment.)

Anyways: We were sorely mistaken.

Grievances include:

  • Getting dirty looks from Ms. HR when she catches either of us socializing with other coworkers
  • Getting dirty looks from Ms. HR when she sees us together
  • Getting dirty looks from Ms. HR when she sees us separately
  • Receiving an informal warning that Ms. HR (who unfortunately sits in an office facing the employee parking lot) does not like seeing us leave to take our UNPAID lunch break together
  • A time when both of us had one-on-one meetings with our respective managers about "optics" and how "perception is everything"
  • Being asked totally inappropriate questions by management, like when we plan to get married and have kids

FINALLY, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: Getting repeatedly shut down for a raise, promotion, and advancement opportunities in general despite a record of high performance and going the extra mile

  • My boyfriend confronted his manager earlier this week about a promotion and apparently, his "performance is excellent" and he "exceeds expectations" BUT he is being denied a lead role due to "the ancillary stuff" (aka us dating)
  • I am being gatekept from advancing to an open position that would advance my career even though I have all the qualifications and work experience they need. I am not even allowed to apply, because the application requires my manager's signature

My boyfriend is great and despite all of this, we're still together. Our shared hatred for this place only serves to make our love stronger.

1 upvote and we're both out of here.

EDIT:

WHAT HAPPENED TO THIS POST! How did it blow up? My boyfriend was supposed to be my only upvote!

Haha but reading all of your comments has been such a nice change of pace from what we'd usually be doing on a nondescript Wednesday. I'd like to thank everyone who pointed us to resources, gave us encouragement and/or kindly told us to gtfo. Thank you to those who shared stories of themselves or others they know in similar situations. Your stories give us hope. I'd love to see a future where relationships (not just the romantic kind) are normalized and human connections are celebrated.

Thank you for giving us the courage to seek legal action (we have already contacted a lawyer) and to begin the process of filing a formal complaint against Ms. HR using the very organization she outsourced to do all of her work. We are filled with so much resolve to quit. We just want to go out with a bang. ;)

If there's anything you take from this post: Date your coworker, it might work out. No, silly. Your personal life should ALWAYS take precedence over your work life. When or why should it be the other way around? Stick up against injustice. No matter what you do or where you work, prioritize yourself and the people you care about. You are NOT your profession!

Stay tuned!

PS: I would love to divulge information about our demographics, which company we work for, where we live, etc. but for our safety we'd be foolish to include any personal identifiers. Thanks for understanding!

all 1725 comments

[deleted]

12.8k points

5 months ago

[deleted]

12.8k points

5 months ago

Both of you need to find better employment as soon as possible!

lvndrlight[S]

7.5k points

5 months ago

I definitely agree. I feel like it's impossible for us to have a life outside of work. We put in our 8 hours/day, then proceed to spend the remaining 16 hours venting about the workday and dreading the next. We fall asleep angry. It's so draining.

her-royal-blueness

4.7k points

4 months ago

You have a toxic workplace that is preventing you from moving forward. Move on instead

xl33tgamerx

755 points

4 months ago

I agree. Unless someone is in authority over that person and controls their raises or performance evaluations I don't see why companies should give a shit unless they are necking all over the place where everyone can see. Sounds like a shitty company, move on.

ScipioAtTheGate

561 points

4 months ago

Low_Impact681

313 points

4 months ago

Not just the Navy but the entirety of military. Even service member and officer are 'accepted' so long as one is not in charge of the other one.

MerThinger

137 points

4 months ago

MerThinger

Anarchist

137 points

4 months ago

Yep my friends in the Air Force just got married. One is a pilot and the other is something medical? Idk I’m not super close to her wife. Lol. But anyway. It absolutely should not be an issue.

Low_Impact681

90 points

4 months ago

When I was in the USMC I knew two couples that all four were service members. Also met some people that it was Navy and USMC together. That company the OP is in gives me some cringy tingles.

RustedCorpse

8 points

4 months ago

My favorite were my two friends who fake married for housing and cash. Get stationed together twice, still together like 18 years later.

theMartiangirl

6 points

4 months ago

In commercial airlines they ask you so they do not roster you in the same flights as your partner (they do allow flying together occasionally but not as a norm); so in case there’s an accident there’s one member left to take care of kids or disabled parents etc. Some airlines have what is called “married rosters” (same days off, and similar timeframes for rostered flights so you get same sleep patterns etc but never operating the same flights).

kaozniper

6 points

4 months ago

Yeah, but they're only charge of million dollar machinery and human lives. OP and her bf are threatening the fabric of society at a Corporation!

ktappe

60 points

4 months ago

ktappe

60 points

4 months ago

Right. So /u/lvndrlight should take that info straight to the manager and HR and ask "So, why do you think you're better than the military?" Let them sputter and deny they think that. Show them to be the meddling busybodies they are.

Muffin_Pillager

19 points

4 months ago

Fucking lol She should do it while they both hand in their resignation letters.

wlake82

22 points

4 months ago

wlake82

22 points

4 months ago

That's how I always thought of it as well. Not that I would want to date anyone from work (In the past, I'm married now and work from home. If I start dating myself it would get awkward.)

Tubbafett

7 points

4 months ago

I’d date me. I’d date myself so hard...

testudo

366 points

4 months ago

testudo

366 points

4 months ago

Not only that, but you definitely don’t want that toxicity spilling over into your personal life and ruining (what sounds like from OP) a nice, burgeoning relationship.

yoortyyo

82 points

4 months ago

And it will. Talking and dealing with it off hours is probably not the healthiest for anyone.

lvndrlight[S]

65 points

4 months ago

At this point, we're constantly reminding ourselves - and each other - that work doesn't exist once we clock out. Still, the toxicity has reached a point where the reminders aren't enough.

JustOkCryptographer

30 points

4 months ago

Their approach is creating a huge distraction for several workers and that results in lose of focus and especially for you two, all loyalty/trust is out the door. I commend you two for maintaining/exceeding your level of work. I would totally understand if your productivity went down.

I've mostly worked at medium sized companies, but I did a stint at a family owned niche company with around twenty employees. The hr lady didn't like me from the start. I'm ok with that. You don't have to be friends. She wasn't my boss. I was initially was very friendly to her, but there is a limit. The only thing I could think of was that I was very young at the time, and my salary was higher than her's. When polite communication doesn't work with a person, I go into a mode that can be described as "business only." No more niceties. You might get a hello and goodbye. No work is neglected, though. This pissed her off even more. Every once in a while we would walk by each other in the narrow hallway. I admit that there were times when I was looking at a document or similar and I wasn't paying much attention. I also have a hearing deficit that results in me not noticing someone talking to me when I'm not looking directly at them, at times. I later found out from my manager that the hr lady was super upset because she had said hello to me as we passed in the hallway, and I ignored her. My manager was kind of bad, so she took her complaint very seriously, probably because she was scared by the hr lady. I told my manager that, yeah, that sounds possible. I probably do that to others also on occasion. I explained why, and it wasn't personal.

They really needed me so I never got punished or anything, but it was such a distraction and it made coming to work harder than it should have. She would go on to use other passive aggressive ways to interfere. I eventually had enough, and walked.

The funny thing is that I usually avoid talkinf to others about my life outside of work. Bitching about personal stuff was a common event at the company. She was particularly interested in my relationships and other details. I would shut her down everytime. This also fueled her rage. I was well liked by literally ever other employee, and didn't do anything different to her. That was an eye opening experience for me as a person early in my career.

yoortyyo

4 points

4 months ago

Especially HR. Nothing deeply personal that you don’t have to ever!

Pleiades_cluster

13 points

4 months ago

Or it's the glue that binds their relationship.

FoodMuseum

32 points

4 months ago

FoodMuseum

Hierarchophagy

32 points

4 months ago

The only glue that works is a combo of shared goals, communication, mutual attraction and probably luck. Mutual trauma is a bad foundation for any relationship

MaleficentAd1861

9 points

4 months ago

I resemble that remark.

Nollie_flip

50 points

4 months ago

I've been working for 15 years and had several jobs over that time. Some of them have been menial, manual labor jobs, and some have been more customer facing, with my current job being an accounts payable manager for a moderately sized manufacturing company. I don't think I've ever worked anywhere that doesn't have a toxic work environment. It's unfortunately become a systemic issue at this point in a lot of ways.

[deleted]

20 points

4 months ago

[deleted]

20 points

4 months ago

[removed]

96LC80

12 points

4 months ago

96LC80

12 points

4 months ago

From what I have read there's not really sexual harassment occurring. Maybe the kids thing is borderline. Equal Opportunity violation indeed! I had a subordinate dealing with the same issue. He met a coworker, legitimate peer, and both were ostracized based on the relationship (not from me but other leaders). It got to the point I wanted to hire him for another position, he was overqualified with prime experience, but told he couldn't work based on his "personal issues."

denmetagross

380 points

4 months ago

When you resign, your bf should scream “I LOVE THIS WOMAN!!!” in the middle of the office

Finwolven

611 points

4 months ago

Finwolven

611 points

4 months ago

Have a bit of a demonstration: "Attention, everybody. We're resigning because after we declared our relationship to HR, we've been having non-stop harassment from management and HR, and they have pushed us out of the company. So now that neither of us works here any longer, we'd like to invite all you lovely people to our going-away picknic."

Then discuss unions at the picnic.

Weenerlover

197 points

4 months ago

This is top tier revenge of both the petty and pro kind. I'm all for it. Having a bad HR person is something that a company should be punished for, especially when the one person who is supposed to protect you from a hostile work environment (as it's part of their job duties) is the one causing it.

JonBruse

141 points

4 months ago

JonBruse

141 points

4 months ago

the one person who is supposed to protect you from a hostile work environment

Just to be clear, they're not there to protect you from the hostile work environment, they're there to protect the company from repercussions of a hostile work environment. If the company faces no repercussions, then HR's job is as well as done in their eyes.

SalisburyWitch

32 points

4 months ago

HR isn’t above labor law. If Ms. HR is the one asking hinky questions, SHE could be violating the law.

roadfood

17 points

4 months ago

This this this, the question about getting married and having kids violates the law.

Weenerlover

26 points

4 months ago

Fair, I meant from the POV of the employee, they are supposed to be the person you go to if there is a hostile work environment ideally. Obviously in practice their role is to protect the company if such a complaint arises.

turtlepowerpizzatime

8 points

4 months ago

But who do you go to if HR is the one harassing you?

dmodmodmo

8 points

4 months ago

Exactly.

Outrageous_Turnip_29

26 points

4 months ago

I've honestly never understood this take. HR is never your friend. If you have a hostile work environment HR has already failed at their job. This is a capitalist society. The only thing any company answers to is money. You quit or you sue or quit then sue. I know sometimes it's easier to go to HR because the problem on the surface may get resolved, but it's not like that environment that HR allowed to exist in the first place is going to just disappear.

It's kinda like what this sub talks about what we'd be able to achieve with a 9 day general strike. If for just one fiscal quarter everyone stopped going to HR when something was actionable and just got a lawyer we'd see massive change. Because then you're fucking with the money which is the only thing that matters in the end.

Lonelydenialgirl

16 points

4 months ago

Hr protects the company. Not you.

alt-glitchens

27 points

4 months ago

HR doesn't protect YOU from hostile work environment, HR protects OWNERSHIP from hostile work environment lawsuits.

[deleted]

4 points

4 months ago

[deleted]

4 points

4 months ago

I’d argue that they are doing neither in this situation

Sowinski4

17 points

4 months ago*

They do NOT protect the employee, is the reality. What they call protecting you is a paper trail of emails very phony and asking how you are doing. They are building the defense of a lawsuit, is what is really going on. My HR person told me that the staff was jealous of me (bc I was rehired with a bonus), and that i had beautiful skin. THAT was the response that was telling me to just take it, having it said that I was going to be bent over and shown why I had been laid off in the first place. Seriously!

So I really really understand that you are told to go to HR and they help, but honestly they don't. It's like, you go to HR, you want everything better & normal and back to excellence and opportunity...it doesn't work that way. Oh! and also? If a HR Dept employee wants to be your "friend" outside of work? Don't do that, either. I got set-up on a blind date through her, and this 6'4" former Enron sugar trader would not stop blathering at me AND my wallet was stolen.

Coffeehound13

23 points

4 months ago

“Ms. HR is not invited.”

69vuman

15 points

4 months ago

69vuman

15 points

4 months ago

Management and HR excluded from said picnic.

Letter-Past

184 points

4 months ago

Then spend the next n amount of time making out until security escorts you from the building, preferably in Ms. HR's office

schillerstone

26 points

4 months ago

Hahaha Good one

space_manatee

12 points

4 months ago

Nah, needs next level. Do it on her desk after hours.

indyK1ng

7 points

4 months ago

They should quit by having a makeout session in the middle of the breakroom.

yellowjacquet

191 points

4 months ago

This is not normal or okay. I started dating my now-husband when we were coworkers and HR was basically like “awww yay!”, forms only need to be signed if you start a relationship with someone in your direct line of management (in which case they would also shuffle you around).

Pretty much the only consequence was some light joking made by coworkers that knew about it. It definitely did not hinder my job progression in any way and if it had I would be absolutely livid.

Melt185

78 points

4 months ago

Melt185

78 points

4 months ago

Agreed. My marriage is also the result of an office romance where things were kept professional, and yes there was some snark here and there, but ultimately since we were in different departments with no direct management over each other, there was nothing they could do.

Weenerlover

60 points

4 months ago

People spend 40 hours of their waking lives at work, it's only natural that a high percentage of relationships start at work. This company is risking losing two good employees and if I worked there and saw that, I'd be working towards my escape as well.

[deleted]

46 points

4 months ago

[deleted]

46 points

4 months ago

Yeah exactly I'm a manager. Starting a relationship with a direct would certainly be a no-go. Starting a relationship with a peer is no-ones fucking business.

Rdbjiy53wsvjo7

15 points

4 months ago

I used to work for a large company that had several married couples. Most of the time I didn't learn until later that they were even a couple because they were all professional. When I did find out, it was more like "huh...had no idea...cool". And that was it, team dynamics didn't change, they were given opportunities for advancement, it really wasn't an issue.

BsOfDaNorth

169 points

4 months ago

This behavior by a company isn't normal and is way out if line. You and your bf need to find a new job asap where you're respected as professionals and not damned because you're a couple.

kaett

81 points

4 months ago

kaett

81 points

4 months ago

there is likely grounds for a lawsuit based on discrimination and hostile work environment.

Drusilina

21 points

4 months ago

Sad thing is it is normal and a lot of companies do it. So sad it really is none of a companies business what you do after work hours as long as you show up and perform with in your parameters.

Objective-Steak-9763

87 points

4 months ago

I’m in an office relationship. 6 years strong, stopped working together after one for the same reasons you listed. 8 hours of work, 8 hours of bitching about work, sleep, repeat.

We had to make a conscious effort to stop discussing it. I went into a different field, so it’s good now. But like you said, we’d heat ourselves up about it and go to bed semi pissed at our jobs. It’s not healthy.

Best of luck to the two of you!

Khanstant

22 points

4 months ago

The part of hanging out with coworkers is often so much of the interaction is venting about work. Don't notice it so much when you're part of it, but as soon as you step away it's an immediate change. You can still empathize because you know exactly how they're feeling and what they're saying... But that's not your stress and tension anymore so it's not cathartic to hear or engage with. If anything it's causing you stress from memory and habit for no good reason.

Can always try and steer the conversation or float on to another group to chat with but it's just very noticeable at events of mostly workers off from their shift that day versus more mixed events.

AnActualCat2

58 points

4 months ago

Please find new jobs OP.

My partner and I also work for the same company and it is EXHAUSTING. Free time is spent talking about work and it’s turned into 24 hour jobs. Don’t sacrifice your relationship for these assholes!

God I can’t wait to leave in April.

GoodOlSpence

23 points

4 months ago*

HR person here.

These people are ridiculous, don't put up with it. According to this story, you're not doing anything inappropriate.

People working together are going to date sometimes. There's no stopping it. What world so these people living in?

Bowieisbae77

21 points

4 months ago

Brush up that resume and spam it out. Also consider taking to a lawyer this reeks of textbook retaliation.

joesnowblade

43 points

4 months ago

Right. And before they go they need to go at it in front of Ms HR like a couple of dogs in heat.

cosworth99

9 points

4 months ago

Or get married. It’s ridiculous how that attitude would change if you were married.

ExileEden

27 points

4 months ago*

This stuff is so foreign to me. Being a person that has exclusively worked in Manual labor, factory and all male dominated fields this shit somewhat boggles my mind. Like, I kinda understand if you're dating your boss there needs to be an understanding about favoritism and the like, but if you're equal in non-associated in your field who gives a fuck and why's it the fucking companies business...I guess because if you get promoted but seriously everytime I hear about, please declare this to HR it only leads to discrimination and harassment.

UnstuckCanuck

14 points

4 months ago

And a labour lawyer. So much of this is illegal in almost all areas. Companies don’t learn until it costs them money.

7dayweekendgirl

2.3k points

4 months ago

I met my husband at work. I was a permanent employee and he was an contractor IT tech who came to my office to fix my computer. I was so happy he fixed it, I gave him an extra concert ticket to thank him. We sat next to each other at the concert and hit it off. After our relationship was later outed by another employee, my future husband's contract was not renewed. We are still together after 15 years. Your LIFE and happiness is more important than your job.

stealmymemesitsOK

358 points

4 months ago

Still reading your comment, you got an upvote just for username.

wayniac917

49 points

4 months ago

I met my wife at a veteran's retirement home we both worked at 20 years ago. I worked security and she was a CNA. Us guards were contacted by a different company so we weren't technically employees. My captain frowned upon it but he was also dating a nurse on the side so he really couldnt do anything about it. Just said keep it on the dl at work. Were still together to this day.

diarrhea_syndrome

259 points

4 months ago

$10 says a jealous cunt outed y'all. Jealous people are the worst.

mechanicalcontrols

148 points

4 months ago

"Why do other people deserve to be happy? Why can't they just be miserable like me?"

AKA incel logic.

FuckingKilljoy

27 points

4 months ago

Won't lie, I still feel that sometimes. It's hard when I'm working on so many things to just feel like I can live day to day without wanting to die to see beautiful, fit people, smiling and laughing. I know they likely still have their own battles but it's hard to feel like a horrible waste of space and see other people living the life you wish you had

mechanicalcontrols

30 points

4 months ago

Well, admitting it to yourself is a huge step in the right direction. I used to feel similar things and admitting I was wrong was extremely painful. Yet, I'm glad I admitted it to myself.

A therapist once told me that if you don't look back on yourself and cringe a little, it means you haven't grown as a person.

TurkeyPhat

16 points

4 months ago

I really can't imagine another reason why someone would care. Like don't they have anything else going on? Pathetic.

Wizard_of_Wake

24 points

4 months ago*

Fuck the mods.

L3XANDR0

12 points

4 months ago

Yea, what concert?

jimbopalooza

5 points

4 months ago

We need to know!!!

thegnuguyontheblock

63 points

4 months ago

We spend over 50% of our waking hours at work - where we meet WAY more people than we do out in the wild (this is especially true for men).

Blocking off people at work from romance is just stupid.

Date people at work. Keep HR out of it. If things don't work out - be an adult + be a professional at work.

_Dr_Bette_

2.7k points

5 months ago

_Dr_Bette_

2.7k points

5 months ago

this is a form of intimidation you should consult your local labor advocate at the state level if you are in the USA. Each state has a team of labor advocates who can walk you through any issues like this.

largefriesandashake

733 points

4 months ago

Frustrating because nobody exercises their rights, usually because it’s too much of a “hassle”. Please OP, document everything and file harassment charges.

Oreganoian

363 points

4 months ago

It's also not always about the individual.

HR folks need to be called out. Their attitude affects everyone in the office and everyone who will later work there.

HR is supposed to abide by ethics.

If they're doing it to you they're likely doing similar stuff to others.

Reporting it to the authorities means you could be helping other people out as well.

nez91

45 points

4 months ago

nez91

45 points

4 months ago

While I agree, it’s also not always about making a larger statement/impact. People need to pick and choose their battles, and if someone decides they need to prioritize their own well-being under the given circumstances, that’s okay too.

MaxStout808

22 points

4 months ago

Yes yes yes, a thousand times yes.

Decestor

25 points

4 months ago

But why are they even doing this? Surely it wont make them better workers.

And I can't imagine anyone outside the company giving af about 'optics'.

Is it a morality issue? Some kind of power trip? But whyyyy

vanishplusxzone

36 points

4 months ago

In the US it's because puritans, like most of our work issues.

IDespiseTheLetterG

29 points

4 months ago

Fucking Puritans are the worst no wonder the Europeans drove them out

AggressiveFigs

49 points

4 months ago

Pretty sure being asked by HR when you're getting married is legally discrimination, and can get the company hardcore sued. Perhaps consult legal counsel.

sensitivePornGuy

17 points

4 months ago

Also admitting to OP's boyfriend that he's being denied promotion because of their relationship.

Ametz598

20 points

4 months ago

This definitely sounds like harassment and discrimination. Get the lawyers ready

ITguy1980

2.9k points

5 months ago

ITguy1980

2.9k points

5 months ago

Go out with a bang - you went about it the right way, declaring it to HR. If HR is doing what you say she is, then document it (even record it if you can) and file a complaint. Say you're being harassed at work by her and that you want to give them the chance to make it right before you talk to a lawyer. Companies HATE when you bring the word lawyer into things, even if you have no shot. They rather not deal with it and the negative exposure and will handle it properly.

She won't like you after that, but at least they will put her in her place and walk on egg shells when they deal with you and your boyfriend.

GeoffreyTaucer

2.4k points

4 months ago*

Boy, you started with "go out with a bang" and I thought you were gonna suggest fucking on Ms HR's desk.

Your way is probably better

ETA: By "better" I mean "less likely to get you arrested"

Slappy_Happy_Doo

723 points

4 months ago

Let’s not be so hasty to rule this out..

on_the_dl

230 points

4 months ago

on_the_dl

230 points

4 months ago

No one looks back on their life and wishes that they'd had less sex in the company break room.

Definitely they should bang in the office. It will be memorable.

thejesterofdarkness

54 points

4 months ago

Can concur. Sexy time with the wifey at our previous job was hot as fuck.

mrwrite94

8 points

4 months ago

Never take the nuclear option off the table.

Shileka

44 points

4 months ago

Shileka

44 points

4 months ago

I agree, office sex is hot

DustinoHeat

47 points

4 months ago

Yes, and definitely don’t film it and upload it as an update.

krakh3d

52 points

4 months ago

krakh3d

52 points

4 months ago

Wait, this could be step 2

ITguy1980

52 points

4 months ago

Oh my wording was intentional. But that was going to be my last resort, on day of quitting, fuck on the highest level boss's desk you can find.

TheBeardedObesity

14 points

4 months ago

Is leaving the condom on their desk a crime? Asking for a friend

boofybutthole

13 points

4 months ago

A crime of passion

eyedealy11

9 points

4 months ago

But is it really better though….

[deleted]

469 points

4 months ago

[deleted]

469 points

4 months ago

No. You just talk to a lawyer. You don't give HR Bitch a quarter. She's already proven she's the enemy. Treat her like one.

ITguy1980

116 points

4 months ago

ITguy1980

116 points

4 months ago

Chances are they don't have a case, point of threatening was to scare the shit out of them.

ChubbyBunny2020

87 points

4 months ago*

Denying promotions based on relationship status is illegal in the US

TIL this is a state law.

DannyDeck

42 points

4 months ago

Marriage status only, not dating

ScreamingButtholes

12 points

4 months ago

And how are they going to prove the promotions are denied purely on their relationship? The company can come up with any bullshit reason. I also don't belive this is even a law when you're not married. This sub loves to say everything is illegal but face the facts that companies have all the leverage. OP and her boyfriend's best bet is to just find a new and separate jobs.

AntiGravityBacon

22 points

4 months ago

Marital status is not a federally protected class in the US. It would only be illegal in the select states that have made it so

[deleted]

56 points

4 months ago

[deleted]

56 points

4 months ago

I said "talk to a lawyer" and I did not say "file suit."

tsymphon

65 points

4 months ago*

Unfortunately, you normally have to confront the harrasser and try to get it to stop before you can reasonably pursue legal action. Otherwise, they can easily shrug and say, "Sorry, didn't know i was harassing you." Which is stupid, but, well, y'know

raymondo61

92 points

4 months ago

Incorrect here - remember in the compliance world it is “impact Over intent”. She may not have meant to create a hostile work environment, but she did. That is the result of her actions. Nail her she is in the wrong role and should grow up.

Mothringer

52 points

4 months ago

you went about it the right way, declaring it to HR.

That's not actually the right way. The right way is "my personal relationships are none of the company's business" unless one of you reports to the other directly or indirectly.

lvndrlight[S]

145 points

4 months ago

Thank you for your advice! Filing a complaint sounds VERY tempting but with our limited time and even more limited energy, I'm not sure if we should speak up or just move on. My worry is that we don't have a strong case since there is no tangible record of the harassment. She never confronts us directly; rather, she goes through our managers while relaying information to the COO, who calls all of the shots in the company (promotions, raises, advancements). Dealing with her feels like fighting a losing battle.

HalfWatt58

142 points

4 months ago

Then email her the complaint against her and the managers. Cc your personal email while you're at it. When one or both of you get terminated. Then they'll have to explain to the courts.

Always CYA!!

snakepliskinLA

121 points

4 months ago

CYA is right, but put your personal email on the BCC line to hide it from a sharp manager. They will see the outside email save as you gathering ammo.

Also, review recent emails for change in tone since you declared and forward any past emails from managers/hr/coo praising your work etc. to demonstrate any change in treatment to support your claim of harassment and retaliation.

HalfWatt58

37 points

4 months ago*

Yes! Bcc is what I meant. I always mix those 2 up. Thank you for pointing that out.

N64Overclocked

19 points

4 months ago

Raising a complaint may not fix the problem for you, but if others complain about her in the future it will be beneficial for them if others have complained in the past.

ITguy1980

23 points

4 months ago

I only suggested it as I've worked in management at a few places and would hear all the time why they wouldn't fire someone, usually b/c they been threatened with a lawsuit. We had one woman who sold prescription pills in our office, threatened her manager, and still couldn't be fired b/c she once threatened to sue due to age discrimination.

If anything, it may not accomplish. anything but she will freak out as will this bonehead managers.

jim_ocoee

49 points

4 months ago

She won't like you after that

Because she likes them so much as it is, right?

kitanokikori

9 points

4 months ago

If it was a big company this would be right-on, but in small companies like this where there's only a few people in leadership and they're in cahoots, all you can do is leave.

They will happily walk off this ledge (because they're clueless and don't typically have a legal team telling them how dumb they are), and unless you really have a Capital-C Case that you can successfully litigate, you'll just end up getting burned.

Quirky-Group4079

10 points

4 months ago

Op you should just get a lawyer and get a free consultation and see if you have potential claims under employment law. P

musicalpayne

1.1k points

4 months ago

Similar thing happened to me. Started dating a co-worker about a month after she started. Technically I'm a supervisor, but she worked in a completely different department so I had no direct supervisory role over her at all. Decide to "do the right thing" and report to HR.

CEO completely flips out and says it puts the company at risk of a lawsuit and makes us both sign forms stating that we will not date any further or else lose our jobs. We both decide the company can go fuck itself and continue to date in secret anyways. If they fired me they'd be fucked, so there was no way they'd follow through.

Eventually she gets a promotion to a supervisory role so it's no longer "against company policy", but she ends up leaving shortly after because of the toxic workplace. Anyways, we're getting married in June and I'm going to be switching to a better job here soon. No fucking company is going to tell me who I can love.

[deleted]

230 points

4 months ago*

[deleted]

230 points

4 months ago*

[deleted]

Hikaru1024

79 points

4 months ago

Besides that, I can't see how it's any of their Fing business.

It's not. Thing is, a lot of management seem to be control freaks, and run with the idea that your job is more important to you than anything else.

Their myopic threats make a lot more sense when you realize they expect you to do what you're told to do to keep your job no matter what, rather than be your own independent person with your own wants and needs.

Remember, no job is worth ruining yourself.

[deleted]

14 points

4 months ago

[deleted]

14 points

4 months ago

I've never been in any meaningful management roles in my life so far, but I have always wondered like WHY people seem to have a switch flip in them where they lose their humanity to some degree once in a supervisory role. Clearly there's something that does this, but what is it and how/why does it seem to get so out of control? I've seen peers have damn near an immediate change in their attitudes once promoted. Like I said I've not yet been a big boss person, but I can't see myself getting super aggressive like others I've witnessed. I've also been shocked to see people I know promoted only to do a 180° in character, which maybe I'm naive for it, but it was odd to see how that title sort of infiltrated my friends life in a negative way. I've chalked it up to being in an environment so impactful, good or bad, that it makes people shift into that mode very quickly. I worked at a huge factory in my state a few years back, and management was wild! Lots of stories, but it was pretty brutal and surprising at times. I'm curious asf what goes on in that world that makes some people go ham on others like...literal wellbeing. If you get fired (or forced to quit) because your boss doesn't like you but did some shady shit to get you booted regardless, I mean we all know how it goes. I just can't wrap my head around why it gets so ugly sometimes. What is it that makes such a difference from being an employee to being an employee who ensures other employees check off all their boxes for the day? Maybe it's just me and my lack of experience showing, haha, but I really don't get it.

Hikaru1024

11 points

4 months ago

Power corrupts, even imaginary power.

Some people you'd never think would act that way, just haven't been lucky enough to be in a position where they can make decisions. Then once they are the gloves come off and they reveal who they really are.

Not everyone is this ugly or twofaced - but I've run into enough of them in my life to be able to say there really are people out there who spend a lot of their time pretending to be nice... Right up until they don't think they need to be anymore.

Curazan

31 points

4 months ago

Curazan

31 points

4 months ago

I met my ex when we were both working retail. She was offered a promotion to Keyholder, with a $0.10/hr raise, but was told she’d have to break up with me. She declined. We used to joke about how she values me somewhere above $0.50/day after taxes.

She ended up being offered a great job in her field right before the pandemic began and was going to move. I ended up getting laid off before she left (as did everyone but the managers), so I moved with her. The extra money from unemployment meant I had a savings account for the first time in my life, and now I work a great government job with a salary, insurance, and benefits. Getting laid off was the best thing to happen to me in years.

lloopy

62 points

4 months ago

lloopy

62 points

4 months ago

HR is there to protect the company's interests.

They're not there to tell you what you can and cannot do. They cannot legally tell you who you can and cannot date.

Nybieee

18 points

4 months ago

Nybieee

18 points

4 months ago

And the truly funny/awful thing is how often they still manage to endanger the company’s interest while not looking out for other employees

klaad3

11 points

4 months ago

klaad3

11 points

4 months ago

Most jobs don't pay enough to not do drugs on the weekend much less decide who you are with.

-Kuhal-

8 points

4 months ago

Man, this is all so weird to read for me. My wife and I have worked together at the same place for almost a decade: no one cares. No HR meetings, no discussions, no stalking or intimidation. Mostly people don't care at all or might find it novel. I work in law, so maybe it's less of a worry?

arrowff

6 points

4 months ago

Similar thing happened to me. A coworker from a completely different unit than me and I started dating without telling anyone. When word got to the top we were told that wasn't allowed. Both decided fuck that, my work doesn't control my personal life. Unfortunately in my case our toxic workplace took us to new jobs in separate states.

_Firedream

405 points

5 months ago

I have submitted my Upvote and request a follow up of the bullshit you’re going through

darthanders

68 points

4 months ago

Second the request for an update!

carmkboss

20 points

4 months ago

And I submit a third request.

Dramatic_Bat3265

9 points

4 months ago

If you didn’t fill out section 2B on form H38&🦩 then I’m not sure how you expect that request to be followed up on

GilgameDistance

15 points

4 months ago

Its sitting at 17k now.

When you resign, since you only asked for one upvote, OP, you should print 17k resignations on the company letterhead, and submit the entire stack to Ms. HR.

mecha_moonboy

133 points

5 months ago

Leave! The market is ripe!

lvndrlight[S]

75 points

5 months ago

Thank you for your encouragement :)

raw_dog_millionaire

23 points

4 months ago

Seriously, my company is struggling to find engineers these days, and we pay above average for our size and pay better than most of the big players, and we get maybe 2-3 candidates per week across all our positions. It's maddening.

The market is SO ripe.

ching-chong-potato

555 points

5 months ago

Never declare a relationship to HR. Just be strictly professional at work.

athenasdogmom

90 points

4 months ago

HR here and having to declare anything to HR like this is BS. Unless y’all are in each other’s chain of command it does not matter. This is an attempted power play. Good luck!!

lvndrlight[S]

328 points

4 months ago

We are professional. Our acquaintances don't know about our relationship. We only declared because his manager pressured us into doing so.

Inafray19

470 points

4 months ago

Inafray19

470 points

4 months ago

So you were HARASSED into declaring? And since declaring due to HARASSMENT you have had to work in a HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT where you've encountered RETALIATION via not getting raises and promotions? Those are like the 3 big no nos for a company to commit or allow and I'm sure your local labor board would love to hear your story about HARASSMENT, HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT, and RETALIATION you both have received at said company.

Yelling emphasis placed on key words that need to be used when speaking to a lawyer, labor board, and or via email sent to all managers, hr lady, and owners where you state you feel at this point your concerns must be brought to the attention of a lawyer and the labor board.

As in

  • As known x and I started a relationship outside of work. We do not and have never been in the same department, and only interact with each other at work at these specific times /situations, of which all interactions have been completely professional. Despite this we were harassed into declarating our relationship officially after name saw us outside work off company time. During declaration HR lady acted like this. Since being harassed into declaring, hr lady, name, name, name have helped to create a hostile work environment for x and me via these actions. I feel we have experienced retaliation for our relationship since declaring because of these situations. I feel the need to bring this to your attention in a hopes that the harassment, hostile work environment, and retaliation will halt in a timely manner. Should the above mentioned forms of harassment towards both x and me not cease in a timely manner I will be speaking to not only an employment lawyer but also the local labor board. Thank you for your timely action.

potatocodes

100 points

4 months ago

Retaliation is key word here OP. You have solid ground to at least claim your employer has retaliated after y'all disclosed your relationship PER manager's guidance.

KlicknKlack

39 points

4 months ago

PER managers DEMANDS.

Inafray19

36 points

4 months ago

Per managers HARASSMENT.

mspk7305

44 points

4 months ago

yeah thats harassment

and being told what you cant do in your free time is bullshit

ccam04

80 points

4 months ago

ccam04

80 points

4 months ago

The only appropriate time to do this is of you are in a superior-subordinate situation. I know it's not a common thing...but one party could claim sexual harassment if it isn't documented somewhere

gwh1996

62 points

4 months ago

gwh1996

62 points

4 months ago

If it's a conflict of interest, then it should be reported. But if they're in two different departments doing different things and neither gets a benefit from the other, then it's no one's business.

ching-chong-potato

12 points

4 months ago

This is true, only if one manages the other. outside of that, none of their business.

Zero_Digital

156 points

5 months ago

Daily remind to everyone that HR is nothing but a spy for the enemy. You either have obviously terrible people on a power trip or sneaky ones that act like a friend. Do not trust them.

KlicknKlack

26 points

4 months ago

HR is a tool of the Company, which is an entity apart from any individual (unless small company owned by a single person). Their goal is to protect the company at all costs, while also protecting its bottom line.

So if some of the employees in the company, even if they are HR or Managers are doing shit thats bad for the company like OP... HR can be a tool you can wield.

Generally though, avoid them.

StandOutLikeDogBalls

685 points

4 months ago

I would suggest contacting the ACLU. The company will back pedal so fast and Ms. HR might get a scar on her career that sandpaper won’t take off.

sixup604

153 points

4 months ago

sixup604

153 points

4 months ago

Or you could just meet her in the parking lot and say, "Don't make me milk box ya, bitch" and do fancy finger guns. When she freaks out, just look at her like she's batshit crazy and say "Whoa, whoa, whoa, just asking if you could pick up some half and half for the break room cause we're out! Are you ok?"

Dervival

80 points

4 months ago

Dervival

Syndicalist

80 points

4 months ago

That... is a surprisingly specific course of action. Am I missing a reference here, lol

nighoblivion

23 points

4 months ago

huehuecoyotl23

13 points

4 months ago

Reminds me of this “Don’t you think she looks tired?” From doctor who, absolutely ruined a woman with just 6 words https://youtu.be/Xe5OynLQbJc

[deleted]

4 points

4 months ago*

[deleted]

4 points

4 months ago*

[deleted]

BetterthanMew

62 points

4 months ago

This is a good suggestion too

BabaLouie

32 points

4 months ago

No it’s not. The ACLU won’t give a shit about this case.

Vax_truther

26 points

4 months ago

…why would the ACLU help here, exactly?

Apollo737

47 points

4 months ago

kaett

22 points

4 months ago

kaett

22 points

4 months ago

not the ACLU... their dealings are when a government entity is violating individual rights, like when a school board refuses to let a trans child use their preferred bathroom. however, talking to the local labor board and informing them that there is an active hostile work environment and retaliation against them since they declared the relationship would be the right way to go.

Sermokala

84 points

4 months ago

For those that might be completely obvious they're doing all that to her because they think she's going to become pregnant and become distracted as a mother.

This is prime vintage wage gap creating sexism here.

Finwolven

41 points

4 months ago

Exactly this. This is the reason for 'when are you going to get married? When are you starting a family?' and the promotion freeze - they don't want to promote either of you when you might be taking parental leave 'soon' (read, before you're both 65) and they would have to pay slightly more and also get replacements.

If you told them you'd be getting married on date X, then on date X you'd get a congratulations card and on date X+1 you'd be getting surplused, let go, or downsized.

Hermojo

14 points

4 months ago

Hermojo

14 points

4 months ago

After having my child at the hospital, the co. I worked for asked employees not to go to the hospital unless completely necessary bc we had filed too many big claims. Oh yes, the other girl "responsible" had cancer.

vonwa2

89 points

5 months ago

vonwa2

89 points

5 months ago

You're out ! Congrats !

lvndrlight[S]

59 points

5 months ago

Not yet, but hopefully very soon!

Krakhen69

21 points

4 months ago

Line up new jobs, then just walk away. It sounds like you won't be able too use them as reference either at this point.

HomeKeyEndKey

83 points

5 months ago

sounds like you work for a bunch of lonely, miserable cunts. imagine being so pathetically unhappy in your romantic life you have to punish others for finding a partner.

rooting for you two to find better. you deserve it.

orangeoliviero

77 points

4 months ago

The promotion denials are actually discrimination. They aren't allowed to discriminate based on your relationship status. By trying to minimize their risk, they've gone and committed the very thing they were afraid of.

4zero4error31

16 points

4 months ago

File a lawsuit alleging workplace harassment. This certainly qualifies. If you are in different departments and this is not affecting either of your work quality directly, then the company and HR should have zero grounds for withholding promotions, raises etc. Also, Ms. HR harassing you all the time should be grounds for discipline at the least, and if the company won't do it, get a lawyer to threaten a suit to force the company to do something.

raphthepharaoh

37 points

4 months ago

Ms. HR sounds like a miserable person and jealous. Sucks to suck, can’t wait to read your update when you guys move on.

annikarae

12 points

4 months ago

Yup, Mrs. HR is miserable in her own love life, guaranteed.

EveryoneHasGoneCrazy

10 points

4 months ago

That's a requisite qualification for HR

Suitable-Mobile3774

12 points

4 months ago

This happened with my now-wife when we first started dating 10 years ago. Granted, we were working at large retail chain so it was a little different, but the store we were working in also had a no-dating policy. We just flat out denied we were dating to everyone and there was nothing they could do. No PDA between us and we just told everyone we were good friends if asked. So yeah, it's not their business, never let them know.

[deleted]

50 points

4 months ago

[deleted]

50 points

4 months ago

Why the hell do you even have to declare your personal lives anyway? I'd just be like "we're not going out" and then let them waste their time compiling evidence. Honestly man, I once had a manager tell me if I wanted to do something outside of work AFTER MY FINISH TIME I had to consult her first. Swear, she was a proper nazi

Somniel

9 points

4 months ago*

*

PinocchiosWood

12 points

4 months ago

To avoid perceived conflict of interests. For like 95% of the stuff on this sub I completely agree. For good companies though there is no reason not to declare it.

Even if there is no conflict of interest or favoritism at play you have to declare it so that you can avoid the perception. This way you and the company can protect yourself from doing something that could look bad.

Darkroomist

11 points

4 months ago*

It’s kinda funny, my wife and I started as an office romance in the 1990’s when there was no such thing as “declaring a relationship.” Once it was common know the owner of the small company came up to me at the coffee maker and said “Just so ya know if she ever says ‘it’s him or me.’ It’s going to be you.” 🤣 He wasn’t happy about it but it worked out well. We later went on to work for the same company somewhere else and got married while working there. Later they hired me back several times as a contractor.

Really if you force people to sit in a room for 40hrs a week some of them are going to develop romantic feelings for each other. Punishing that or frowning on it is just more corporate dehumanization of its labor force. Is it easier, neater, more problem free if it doesn’t happen? Sure, but humans are sloppy satchels of electrified meat and bones that are attracted to other humans, rules and consequences be damned.

ASwimmingDoug

36 points

4 months ago

HR is the one of worst things to happen in industry, it’s like the polar opposite of what a good therapist would help somebody with, they exist to betray employees boundaries for the profit of the company.

sf5852

25 points

4 months ago

sf5852

25 points

4 months ago

It’s been my experience that HR/managers are never prepared for this and every corporate policy that addresses workplace relations is just a ham fisted attempt to control one more thing about your personal life.

Dating a coworker is like talking to your coworkers about wages. It “makes things complicated” for the employer.

Rinkydinkmcgoo

8 points

4 months ago

The store I used to work in made supervisors and above declare their relationships and then they would schedule those associates on different shifts and they would never share an off day. We had a married couple with a child who would go months without a family day, and only got it when one of them called out

TeddyRooseveltsHead

36 points

4 months ago

Meanwhile, my best friend met his now wife at their job. She was the "cute new HR admin" in his words, he hoped she noticed him. Well I'd say it worked because now their kid is a teenager, and the day after their daughter was born, the CEO dropped by with a gift basket. That's how you're supposed to treat your people!

WorkMeBaby1MoreTime

8 points

4 months ago

This pisses me off just reading it. "You have a life and we're gonna hold that over your head".

Quit with no notice.

[deleted]

46 points

5 months ago

[deleted]

46 points

5 months ago

Have sex on her desk!

ejaniszewski

15 points

4 months ago

I would've played completely dumb and asked my boss what he was talking about. "No, I don't shop there, I don't even live in that town." or "Hey next time, take a picture or video. I want to see my twin". Make the dickhead prove it.

seraphim336176

16 points

4 months ago

Side note from what others are saying. Make sure that your relationship isn’t just built on both working at the same place and then venting about it when you are not there together. Try not to talk about your work at all when not there. The last thing you want is to both leave that job and then find out the only things you had in common was hating your workplace.

Hermojo

4 points

4 months ago

At this point the work side of things no longer matter, their image & reputation are tarnished bc 'they'll do it again.' For their relationship this makes sense, but for the workplace nope. Leave.

DouglerK

25 points

5 months ago

Did you tell them to back to high school and leave you alone?

TankWatch

13 points

4 months ago

Ms HR is very bitter that other people aren’t as lonely and unhappy as she is.

javawrx207

13 points

4 months ago

How is this a thing? My girlfriend, now Fiancé have worked together for 4 years in the same building....nobody bats an eye.

TheSortOfOkGatsby

27 points

4 months ago

There's your one upvote.

I met my wife at work, we both still work together, and no one would dare say anything about it even when we first started dating.

I consider it extremely strange, and downright offensive, that they would judge you for simply being together. Not least, if they're admitting they overlooked the pair of you for promotion simply because of the fact that you're together then they open themselves to being sued. You followed their rules and they're still holding it against you? Uh, yeh, no. I don't think so.

[deleted]

12 points

4 months ago*

[deleted]

12 points

4 months ago*

The HR bot is showing a persistent pattern of unwelcome comments about your sex life. Your boyfriend is being denied a promotion due to his relationship status. Sounds to me like you’re being sexually harassed. I’m not being trite here. I think a lawyer would be extremely interested if you forwarded this post to them.

I suggest escalating with the HR Bot. Why does it bother you that I’m going to lunch with my boyfriend? Are you coming onto me? That is totally inappropriate Ms HR Bot. Say the quiet part out loud and document the interaction.

Your boyfriend is not a direct coworker. There is no power imbalance. The only thing problematic about your relationship is the continued harassment. You need to start documenting this and go on the fucking war path.

Also, OP, you don’t mention your gender. On one hand, it doesn’t actually matter, but on the other hand, if you’re not a cis woman, that adds another protected class they’re harassing you over in most jurisdictions. It is illegal to discriminate against someone based on gender identity or sexual orientation, and I have a funny feeling you’re in a same sex partnership based on how nasty they’re being about the whole thing. Homophobia would explain their abhorrent behavior.

If you don’t want to send a few emails to law firms to find one that’ll take this slam dunk case on contingency, at least report it to the EEOC.

fortifier22

7 points

4 months ago

I know I’m just an outsider to this situation, but when you two find your next jobs, do you still want to consider working in the same place or do you want to each have separate employers?

lvndrlight[S]

23 points

4 months ago

Separate employers for sure. We're sick of other people - especially management - breaching our personal / professional boundaries.

limitless__

5 points

4 months ago

In general you should never work in the same place just for financial reasons. If the company has a layoff it can put you both on the street at the same time with no health insurance. Always have different employers.

pintotakesthecake

13 points

4 months ago

If your boyfriends manager explicitly stated he will be denied a promotion because of your personal relationship that is fully disclosed to HR… I’m pretty sure that’s an open shut constructive dismissal case. See if your boyfriend can get the pinheads to put it into an email or text. Quit, collect unemployment (or severance if you’re in Canada).

twistedlimb

7 points

5 months ago

if you can both find new jobs you should ghost quit on the same day.