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Workplace Romance A No-No at Gates Foundation

Hemos posted about 8 years ago | from the prolly-a-bad-idea-almost-anywhere dept.

70

theodp writes "The past week has brought NY Times coverage of the workplace romance of Gates Foundation co-chairs Bill and Melinda Gates, as well as Newsweek coverage of the workplace romance of Gates Foundation CEO Patty Stonesifer and her subordinate, Slate Editor-in-Chief Michael Kinsley. So the Foundation's Conflict of Interest Policy comes off as just a tad hypocritical: 'Additionally, certain types of relationships between co-workers may create impermissible conflicts of interest. For example, a romantic relationship in the workplace may raise perceptions of bias and favoritism.'"

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70 comments

I heard it through the grapevine... (2, Funny)

ForestGrump (644805) | about 8 years ago | (#15649444)

how did Bill and Melinda meet?

Re:I heard it through the grapevine... (2, Interesting)

MoonFog (586818) | about 8 years ago | (#15649450)

Perhaps that's why this policy is in place? Didn't Melinda lead the Microsoft Bob development or something?

Re:I heard it through the grapevine... (1)

bladesjester (774793) | about 8 years ago | (#15651560)

She was indeed in charge of Microsoft Bob. In fact, it was the only thing at Microsoft that she was ever in charge of.

You can also blame her for Clippy (which was sort of pioneered in Bob). =]

Re:I heard it through the grapevine... (3, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | about 8 years ago | (#15649457)

Well, one night he borrowed his friend's lotus, and couldn't get the thing to shift right, and he got lost... wait, that's not it.

All those policies of 'no workplace romance' are b.s., the foundation of American small business is the mom-and-pop shop, not the mom-or-pop shop.

Re:I heard it through the grapevine... (4, Funny)

tehgimpness (984446) | about 8 years ago | (#15649535)

the foundation of American small business is the mom-and-pop shop, not the mom-or-pop shop.

Or in more liberal areas: the 'mom-and-mom' shop.

Re:I heard it through the grapevine... (2, Insightful)

babyrat (314371) | about 8 years ago | (#15651030)

I don't know that I've ever heard of a no workplace romance policy. And the policy that this article links to certainly isn't a no workplace romance policy. There are policies that deal with romances between employees and their supervisors and employees and contractors, and employees and beneficiaries because that opens up a whole realm of legal implications, and should be avoided, or if they are not avoided need to be dealt with very specifically in order to keep conflict of interest accusations out of the picture.

Let me explain it to you in simple terms - you are in charge of deciding whether company A gets a million dollar grant, or company B gets a million dollar grant. You are banging the CEO of company A. Company A legitimately deserves the money over company B so you make the decision to give the million to company A (regardless f your current relationship with the CEO). Company B finds out you are in a relationship with the CEO of comapny A and sues over a conflict of interest. Whether they are successful with the lawsuit or not, you've just cost the company a lot of money in legal fees.

The policy states (as does the policy in most corporations I've seen) that you should try to avoid those situations, but if you find yourself in that situation, talk to HR about it, and they will assign that decision to someone else if applicable, or make sure the decision process is monitored and well documented to provide a quick defense of any decision.

And why are you bringing 'small business' into a discussion that involves a multi billion dollar foundation started by a man who until recently ran a multi billion dollar company? The story has absolutely nothing to do with small business.
 

Re:I heard it through the grapevine... (1)

Thundercleets (942968) | about 8 years ago | (#15652344)

She was his personal assistant. Got 5MM as part of the pre-nup and then it was shear bliss after that. The rich are different... "Go out with me and I'll buy you Denmark" "Okay but no kissing" - B. Breathed

It's even in the f****n name! (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 8 years ago | (#15649449)

Or are Bill and Melinda Gates just good friends?

Sort of (1)

Hyperhaplo (575219) | about 8 years ago | (#15655321)

She is VERY good friends with his money..

Definitely a Slow News Day (5, Insightful)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | about 8 years ago | (#15649479)

While I was furiously searching for something insightful to write, I determined that this story is essentially devoid of value. I don't even know if there is an opportunity to trash Gates here. I know this is effectively a four day holiday for many people, but certainly there must be other stories with a modicum of news value worth posting.

Re:Definitely a Slow News Day (1)

Rob Nance (645531) | about 8 years ago | (#15649948)

Seriously. Should we be expecting a new usweekly.slashdot.org for the juiciest celeb gossip of the tech sector? I love the title for the first link "The past week has brought NY Times coverage of the workplace romance of Gates Foundation co-chairs Bill and Melinda Gates" And then the only thing in the article I could find: "As he spoke, he shared a stage at the New York Public Library with both Gates and his wife, Melinda, a Microsoft executive he married in middle age." I mean, we're not at the total shock factor of TV media level yet, but Slashdot is heading that direction. And since this post and topic is dumb, I leave you with a dumb quote along those lines: "Lesbian nazi hookers, abducted by aliens and forced onto weight loss programs, next time on Town Talk"

Definitely a Slow News Day-Tiltomo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15650494)

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Re:Definitely a Slow News Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15651668)

I don't even know if there is an opportunity to trash Gates here.
There is. At least if you just read the summary and not the article itsself, one really has to wonder why Bill and Melinda could come up with such a policy, even though Mrs. Gates is a former Microsoft employee. [wikipedia.org]

This is stupid. (0)

Johnny5000 (451029) | about 8 years ago | (#15649481)

Every workplace on earth (or at least in the US) has a policy in the employee rules warning against office romances.
Even ones that are owned and managed by husband-and-wife couples.

What's wrong with office romances? (4, Insightful)

dk-software-engineer (980441) | about 8 years ago | (#15649581)

In the company I work in (danish company) more than 10% of the employees are married to each other. And we are hundres of employees, so I think there's enough statistical data to toy with.

What if office romances was not allowed here? Why shouldn't it be allowed, as long as they are not romancing in the office? I regularly see people coming to work holding hands, and people from different departmens eating together, and that's it. I don't see any problems here. (But if people here keep marrying each other (or hiring spouses), this could be a family business in a few generations...)

Re:What's wrong with office romances? (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 years ago | (#15649723)

Where I went to high school, we had 4 or 5 teacher couples who were working in the same school. I'm not sure why, but it seems like teachers have a very high rate of being married to other teachers. Probably has something to do with meeting in teacher's college. Anyway, I don't think it really caused any problems. I think the problem comes more from starting new relationships within the organization. You go out for six months, and then she cheats on you with tim in the cubicle next to you. This could create some very bad team dynamics. This is why I wouldn't recommend pursuing someone you have to work with on a daily basis. On the other hand, if you work in a large company with a thousand employees in the one building, and you spend 8 hours a day there, then it's probably your best chance for meeting someone. Outright banning office romances is a bad thing. If people get into relationships, and they break up, and then can't work properly together, then it's probably time for management to step in.

Re:What's wrong with office romances? (2, Insightful)

Lodragandraoidh (639696) | about 8 years ago | (#15649838)

Probably has something to do with meeting in teacher's college...


I think it has more to do with meeting in the teacher's lounge.

The fact is proximity provides opportunity for these relationships to flourish - regardless of what line of work you are in.

Re:What's wrong with office romances? (1)

chameleon3 (801105) | about 8 years ago | (#15649884)

"If people get into relationships, and they break up, and then can't work properly together, then it's probably time for management to step in." That's the point. Management doesn't want to have to "step in" in the first place. Ergo, no office romances.

Re:What's wrong with office romances? (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 years ago | (#15649930)

But romance isn't necessary nor sufficient for office fights. If I'm friends with Bob at the office, and I lend him my car, and he crashes it, then wee might get in an argument. If someone eats my day-after-thanksgiving turkey sandwich that I put in the fridge, then that might cause some kind of conflict. It's when the conflict gets in the way of us doing our jobs that they should step in. They can't stop conflict from happening all the time. All they can do is make sure that it gets resolved when it becomes a problem.

Re:What's wrong with office romances? (1)

chameleon3 (801105) | about 8 years ago | (#15650676)

"If I'm friends with Bob at the office, and I lend him my car, and he crashes it, then wee [sic] might get in an argument."

Oh, come now. Which is more likely: a friend crashing a car, or an office romance turning sour? The former might happen every 20 years, the latter every few months.

Also, I'd like to point out that I disagree with forbidding office romances. Let them try to handle it like adults. If they can't, fire 'em.

Re:What's wrong with office romances? (2, Funny)

ksheff (2406) | about 8 years ago | (#15650435)

On the other hand, if you work in a large company with a thousand employees in the one building, and you spend 8 hours a day there, then it's probably your best chance for meeting someone.
then I'm doomed.

Re:What's wrong with office romances? (1)

milkman_matt (593465) | about 8 years ago | (#15651616)

Why shouldn't it be allowed, as long as they are not romancing in the office?

Because some people (most probably) have a hard time leaving personal business at the door. What if you get in a fight the night before or that morning, now you have to work with one another all day and possibly resent one another all day, this could affect business in a major way. What if one of you is a manager? Then people will cry favoritism on your decisions involving S/O, plus what if you have to discipline him/her, that would be tough, and even if you do the right thing, someone will say you went easy on him/her, nothing you ever do as far as rewarding or disciplining that person will -ever- be right...

Re:What's wrong with office romances? (1)

dk-software-engineer (980441) | about 8 years ago | (#15652049)

Because some people (most probably) have a hard time leaving personal business at the door.

They shouldn't be working side by side in any case. Not many relationships can survive being together 24/7. And even if it does, it's probably still not healthy.
But to the company, that's no different from two people that is just different in the wrong way. There's nothing special about to good employees that just doesn't work too well together. Just don't pair them, done.

Leaving personal business at the door can be difficult to some, no matter if their spouse is working the same place. This is just something adults are supposed to be able to handle. If it's really so bad that you cannot take care of your job, take a vacation or call in sick. Seriously. If you are not able to do your job because of a mental condition, you're ill, and you can take a sick-day.

Last point, what if one of them manages the other? This is the hardest one. Now not only the couple needs to be adults, everybody else does too. This should probably be avoided. Where I work, I think major descisions like raises and promotions needs at least two people. The direct manager makes a recommendation, and someone else makes the descision. Favoritism is probably only possible for small things. Small things that doesn't matter on a healthy workplace.

Unhealthy workplace: "Wow, she got a new chair very easy." - "That's just because her husband is her manager."
Healthy workplace: "Wow, she got a new chair very easy." - "Is something wrong with your chair? Just get a new one too."

Yeah, that may be my point: A healthy workplace can handle it. And if someone isn't adult enough to do their job, it doesn't matter if their significant other works the same place. (A small workplace may not be able handle two people not being able to work close together, then the couple must make a choice, forced by employer or not.)

Re:What's wrong with office romances? (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | about 8 years ago | (#15652293)

They shouldn't be working side by side in any case. Not many relationships can survive being together 24/7. And even if it does, it's probably still not healthy.

So you're saying that it isn't healthy for a couple (married or not) to start a business together and grow it? Let's face it: when the business is small at first, they'll probably end up working in the same office or room for quite a while. And who better to trust as a business partner than someone who you mutually love?

Had more people taken your advise, probably half of all businesses started as mom-and-pop concerns wouldn't have *been* started.

-b.

Re:What's wrong with office romances? (1)

dk-software-engineer (980441) | about 8 years ago | (#15655059)

So you're saying that it isn't healthy for a couple (married or not) to start a business together and grow it?

I'm saying "not many relationships can survive it" and that "it's probably not healthy". From this you can deduct that some relationships can survive it, and there is a (low) probability that it is not unhealthy. Of course some will beat these odds. Most won't, but that's how business is.

Had more people taken your advise, probably half of all businesses started as mom-and-pop concerns wouldn't have *been* started.
How many mom-and-pop startups ended destroying the business, marriage or both? I'm not saying couple shouldn't start business together, just that it's dangerous.

But this is kind of off-topic. If a couple starts a small company, probably just the two of them in the beginning, I don't think they would need to fight a no-workplace-romance policy. :-)

Re:What's wrong with office romances? (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | about 8 years ago | (#15652303)

In the company I work in (danish company) more than 10% of the employees are married to each other. And we are hundres of employees, so I think there's enough statistical data to toy with.

I think Americans are most apt to sue for small things, so having a policy against workplace romances in place protects the company from being a party to sexual harrassment lawsuits.

-b.

Yes, That is stupid. (1)

twitter (104583) | about 8 years ago | (#15649830)

Every workplace on earth (or at least in the US) has a policy in the employee rules warning against office romances.

Including Microsoft? You do know that Melinda was employee before she was a wife, don't you? Nothing new there, Bill has always put himself above such petty things as rules he expects others to obey.

Re:Yes, That is stupid. (1)

Johnny5000 (451029) | about 8 years ago | (#15650516)

Nothing new there, Bill has always put himself above such petty things as rules he expects others to obey.

That's why it's good to be the boss. You get to take long lunches, come in to work late, and date your employees.

Actually being the boss and dating an employee would be putting you at a lot of risk for a lawsuit if problems developed in the relationship. He asks her out, she says no, six months later she doesn't get a promotion that she thinks she deserves... is it retaliation for saying no, or just because she doesn't deserve a promotion?

Re:Yes, That is stupid. (2, Interesting)

C0deM0nkey (203681) | about 8 years ago | (#15650540)

Bill has always put himself above such petty things as rules he expects others to obey.

Okay. I'm not a fan of Bill Gates the-Microsoft-Chief-Architect, but COME ON! Bill most likely had nothing to do with writing this policy; this type of policy is so standard as to render it boilerplate for any business. I would not be surprised if those who seek to specialize in HR policy get a little handbook filled with legal boilerplate and a tutorial on "How to Thwart the Efforts of IT Applicants" upon graduation from business college.

If there is any point to this policy it is merely to serve as a warning and to force a level of discretion upon the participants that may otherwise not exist.

Bill and Melinda could care less who you date or marry; they care only about one thing: do your actions impact the 'company' in an adverse manner. If/When your dating relationship turns sour and you are dumped, can you handle seeing that person everyday in the office? If you are the dumper, probably, but if you are the one dumped? Be prepared to move on; if your attitude is "Screw that! *THEY* should move on!" or if you feel you would be unable to move on (for any reason) - well, maybe you should reconsider because you probably are not ready to get romantically involved with someone from your office.

[my story] I served in the US Air Force for far too long; during that time there were strict rules forbidding romances between members of the officer corp and members of the enlisted corp. She was an officer and I was enlisted; we conducted ourselves with a high level of discretion, worked in different areas of the base and did not call attention to ourselves...as did numerous other couples in the same situation as we. It was about professionalism and self-control. Period. [/my story]

Re:Yes, That is stupid. (2, Funny)

The One and Only (691315) | about 8 years ago | (#15650839)

Of course, everyone knew what was going on, and started eyeing you with suspicion when she turned out to be a Cylon, flipped out, and shot your CO.

Re:Yes, That is stupid. (1)

eggspurt (845109) | about 8 years ago | (#15692357)

The problem is that it's hypocritical. Melinda was a programmer employed at Microsoft, according to the book I Sing the Body Electronic: A Year With Microsoft on the Multimedia Frontier by Fred Moody.

Moderators (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15651006)

twitter, please post answers to the replies to your post [slashdot.org] of today. Thanks.

Re:This is stupid. (1)

rbanzai (596355) | about 8 years ago | (#15650542)

That is simply false. I've had many jobs, mostly in office type environments in the U.S. and have never seen this in any policy manual.

Not on whole earth at least. (1)

Explo (132216) | about 8 years ago | (#15654548)

Dunno about US, but none of the places I've been working in Finland have warned about romances in any way.

Re:This is stupid. (1)

jessicalandy (982341) | about 8 years ago | (#15655201)

These policies are just made so people keep the behind doors stuff out of the office. If an outbreak of domestic dispute arises it's an easy way to axe the entire probrlem right out of the office legally I assume, and keeps the drama out of the office pretty well in my experience.

How is this hypocritical? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15649502)

For example, a romantic relationship in the workplace may raise perceptions of bias and favoritism.

Isn't that just a factual statement? Relationships aren't forbidden, they're just telling you to exercise caution.

Besides, when an organization's mission is essentially to push money out the door, there is indeed more potential for conflict of interest. EVERY transaction is subject to scrutiny, because there can be legal consequences for favoritism. Less so with a corporation.

you are right, lets keep it corporate... (0, Offtopic)

da5idnetlimit.com (410908) | about 8 years ago | (#15650242)

Now lets see about the takeover bid for Maria's As*

Sorry, I know, it was too easy 8p

RTFA Submitter (4, Insightful)

sparkhead (589134) | about 8 years ago | (#15649512)

It doesn't say they're forbidden, it says they should be disclosed to HR. It's a fairly common practice.

Re:RTFA Submitter (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 years ago | (#15649758)

Yeah, disclosed to HR so they can find some other reason to fire you :P

That's funnier than hypocrisy. (1)

twitter (104583) | about 8 years ago | (#15649762)

It doesn't say they're forbidden, it says they should be disclosed to HR. It's a fairly common practice.

For judgment and advice, presumably? "You may bone our property only with our (ours == owned by Bill Gates) permission." The M$ micromanagement knows no bounds! Bill's attitude always has been "What's our is ours and what's yours is ours," I suppose he means it.

If they were being hypocritical, it would at least show a knowledge of morals.

Re:That's funnier than hypocrisy. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15653634)

What a pathetic little growler you are. You really need to do something about this consuming hatred of "M$" that seems to be the center of your existence.

Re:RTFA Submitter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15650371)

then you get fired for sexual harrassment.

Re:RTFA Submitter (1)

bladesjester (774793) | about 8 years ago | (#15651630)

Quite frankly, it is absolutely none of HR's business whom I happen to be dating. My personal life is just that - Mine and *personal*.

This habit of some companies thinking that they own every aspect of your life really annoys the hell out of me.

Re:RTFA Submitter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15652965)

The thing is that a relationship between coworkers could affect performance, and if it does, they want to know why.

ESPECIALLY if it takes place on multiple levels of priviledge inside the company.

Yep. An issue (4, Funny)

MImeKillEr (445828) | about 8 years ago | (#15649579)

Unless one of them didn't report directly to the other. Of course, then neither of them would be a subordinate.

Still, its hyprocritical.

While talking about the foundation: Anyone else notice that Warren Buffet is so rich that he hired Bill Gates to spend his money?

Re:Yep. An issue (2, Informative)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 8 years ago | (#15649883)

I'm understand or see where the hypocrisy is, I haven't seen a good explaination. The reason that superior/subordinate relationships can cause problems is of potential for blackmail or favoritism, as well as the risk for sexual harrassment lawsuit.

Re:Yep. An issue (1)

Jim Hall (2985) | about 8 years ago | (#15650299)

While talking about the foundation: Anyone else notice that Warren Buffet is so rich that he hired Bill Gates to spend his money?

Yes, Jon Stewart of the 'Daily Show' noticed that last week, and made exactly the same comment on his show. I'm guessing you saw it too. :-)

Re:Yep. An issue (1)

Sage Gaspar (688563) | about 8 years ago | (#15650331)

And there was someone else (maybe the same guy?) who made the exact same crack on another story about the donation. The best thing about it is, it never gets old. Ever. :P

Re:Yep. An issue (1)

geoffspear (692508) | about 8 years ago | (#15650350)

Anyone else notice that Warren Buffet is so rich that he hired Bill Gates to spend his money?

Why yes, Stephen Colbert may have also noticed that.

You know, "Funny" mods don't actually get you karma, so there's really no reason to plagiarize actual funny people in an effort to get modded up.

Re:Yep. An issue (1)

MImeKillEr (445828) | about 8 years ago | (#15659425)

I don't watch Colbert or The Daily Show. I don't have time.

Ever think that maybe someone might think the same thing as someone else? And god forbid they happen to state it similarly. I can't quote someone I don't watch.

I guess neither you nor the other responder had considered that, eh?

As for Karma, I'm not whoring. I could really give a shiat as to what my score is.

How Is This A Politics Issue????!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15649603)

The Gates Foundation is a private foundation. They can whatever policies they want. Why would slashdot care? There's no political relevance here. What are the editors smoking?

"What are the editors smoking?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15649619)

Each other.

Don't look for many comments on this topic... (3, Funny)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 8 years ago | (#15649770)

Don't look for many comments on this topic...methinks the average Slashdotter has enough trouble with "romance", let alone the more specific "workplace romance".

Workplace Romance in IT? (1)

Alaren (682568) | about 8 years ago | (#15650755)

You know, on the surface it's funny, but if I had any mod points left I'd mod you insightful. And here's why:

How many women work at typical /. reading workplaces? While that might not pose a problem for a small percentage of the population, most men find it difficult to carry on a workplace romance in a workplace with no women! I recently left (to attend law school) from a major domain name registrar which employed a great many women. Women in executive positions, women in HR, women on the call center floor, even a few women in software development... but when we had an all-hands IT department meeting to introduce the new CIO, the COO walked in and looked around and said, "Wow. The gender diversity is staggering."

Not one woman in the room.

Now that I think about it, I wonder if that's related in any way to the stereotypical geeky "women problems?" Maybe it's less a function of social skills and more a function of simple mathematical averages...

Anyhow, I'm married with two kids, so it doesn't matter much to me. But I thought this was a great example of a funny comment actually pointing to a deeper truth. Gotta love good humor.

Re:Workplace Romance in IT? (1)

bladesjester (774793) | about 8 years ago | (#15652163)

Chances are that there are a fair number of members of the opposite sex at companies where the average slashdotters work. They may not work in the same department, but they are indeed there.

I don't know about you, but I often enjoy talking to people who don't do the same things professionally that I do. It helps me keep perspective on things and makes sure I get out on occasion. If all of my friends (including girlfriends that I have had) were into all of the same things that I was, I'd be bored out of my skull.

Re:Workplace Romance in IT? (1)

ksheff (2406) | about 8 years ago | (#15652436)

Yeah, but combine that with an HR department that has a hair trigger when it comes to firing people over 'uncomfortable workplace/sexual harrassment' issues and you get an environment where you could lose your job for merely asking someone out. Remember, geeks aren't that great at social interaction and communications. What we may think is perfectly acceptible may trigger a "Ewww..that creepy IT guy is hitting on me" email shitstorm that will culminate with you unemployed by the end of the day.

Re:Workplace Romance in IT? (1)

bladesjester (774793) | about 8 years ago | (#15652536)

I can't really comment on the "creepy IT person is hitting on me" part because I usually end up being the one that gets approached. I tend to read people fairly well. It's just one of those things.

As for the rampant screams of "sexual harassment", some of them are deserved, yes, but a lot of those situations arise because people don't tell the person in question that something they are doing is making you uncomfortable. It really comes down to people taking responsibility for themselves and working things out first instead of running to HR right away and saying something that may in fact be blown completely out of proportion.

Talk to that person first. If they don't stop, then go to HR or whatever the next step should be.

I'm a pragmatic (and generally pretty polite) person. If I'm doing something that somebody isn't comfortable with, chances are very good that if they tell me, I'll stop doing it (unless there is very good reason for what I am doing).

Re:Workplace Romance in IT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15652978)

You obviously haven't worked in an environment like that. We've had guys get fired within an hour of accidentally sending a lame, but tasteless joke to the wrong person. It wasn't a pattern of harrassment. It was one email to a non-management female in another department. One guy I know had a meeting with an HR droid where they disclosed that they were investigating claims that people were ....(drumroll please)... "calling him a Canuck" and that if he was offended with such derogatory comments, they would continue to pursue it under the appropriate zero tolerance guidelines put in place by the HR dept. His response: "why would I be offended? I am a Canuck!"

Re:Workplace Romance in IT? (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 8 years ago | (#15654779)

The zero tolerance HR people should be sacked - zero tolerance for such people ;).

News for nerds? Stuff that matters? (1)

IvanCruz (316505) | about 8 years ago | (#15649931)

May I know why every hiccup from Redmond gets noticed here?
OSTG is now founded by Microsoft?
May I have my share?

Ivan.

FUD (4, Insightful)

EnglishTim (9662) | about 8 years ago | (#15649973)

Well, not exactly FUD, but certainly wilfully misinterpretation.

If you read the linked-to guide, it is primarily talking about situations in which an employee of the foundation has a relationship with someone who is a beneficiary, or potential beneficiary of the foundation.

Remember that a large part of the foundation's work is to give other organisations money. Obviously they need to ensure that conflicts of interest are known about and that people aren't using their influence to get money passed on to their loved ones. In their position, it would be madness not to have a policy like that, and I'm sure most similar organisations have something similar.

The document is mainly about relationships with people external to the company, but there is a small section about coworker romances. That section makes it quite clear that disclosure of office romances is only encouraged in situations where a conflict of interest could be a problem. The guideline is really very reasonable:

When deciding what kind of relationships should be disclosed, consider the situation from the perspective of an outsider and whether the relationship is of such a nature that it could raise an allegation of an apparent or actual conflict of interest, and then err on the side of transparency, as disclosure helps to alleviate or avoid future misunderstandings.

I assume then they would be talking about relationships where for instance the career advancement of one partner would be decided by the other partner in the relationship.

Nowhere in the document does it seek to discourage such workplace relationships.

The poster is just trying to whip up a bit of anti-Gates feeling out of thin air.

Nothing to see here, move along!

Company "Ink Well" (1)

fire-eyes (522894) | about 8 years ago | (#15650500)

This is good policy. Yes the article said all that had to be done was report to HR, however I think it should be policy to avoid it period.

I once had wood for a nice woman at work. I told my father about this, and he gave me some advice. Son, never dip your dick in the company ink well.

It only took 3 seconds to realize he was right. It may seem obvious to most here, but hey I was young and needed a smack in the head like that... All the drama and other BS needs to stay OUTSIDE THE WORKPLACE thanks.

Re:Company "Ink Well" (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | about 8 years ago | (#15652250)

I once had wood for a nice woman at work. I told my father about this, and he gave me some advice. Son, never dip your dick in the company ink well.

Bleh. Depends what the woman is like and how desperate you are to keep the job at all costs. If you ask me, good, interesting women are harder to come by than good jobs. And remember that you spend 1/3 or more of your waking life at work, so the development of workplace romances isn't really sufficient. You have the added benefit of being able to see the prospective romance under conditions of stress, not at her best always liek on a date.

(This is coming from someone who ended up dating the boss's niece at a company that he was working for one summer in college and having a good time :-P)

-b.

Personally (3, Interesting)

lonesome phreak (142354) | about 8 years ago | (#15650504)

I shun from workplace relationships. Mainly because I don't want the people I work with to know a damn thing about my personal life...because I work in the Bible Belt at a large comapny. I am afraid of some girl telling her co-workers how I drink alot, enjoy "dark" music, how most of my books on my shelf are about the occult, and my other habits...I sorta have to lead a double life because I'm afraid of the backlash.

But I don't have too much trouble finding women outside of work (at least for a semi-random hookup), so I'm not looking too hard. I really don't like the whole "dating" scene, which reminds me of a drawn-out pay-per-view drain on my money with little guarentee of anything besides being treated like a chump.

Re:Personally (3, Funny)

MikeTheMan (944825) | about 8 years ago | (#15651288)

Joe? Is that you? I swear, if it is, you're totally fired tomorrow.

proceed with caution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15651281)

My last girlfriend was a co-worker. It turned out fine, but we were both happy to keep things professional at work. A less well-balanced person could have really sunk me. I was pretty nervous for a while.
It would have been real hot gossip at the time, as I was separated and still legally married, thanks to my ex dragging her feet.
 
I was envisioning two Woody Allen-like scenarios. One where my ex came in and started yelling, "Can you people believe that he's f!@#ing the P.R. girl? You a@#hole!", or another where my new girlfriend came in and yelled, "He's been f!@#ing me for months, and he's still married to someone else!". Still gives me a shiver.
I don't know that I'll take that chance again anytime soon.

Seeing this at my place (1)

The_Shadows (255371) | about 8 years ago | (#15651342)

I'm working at a startup and I got my girlfriend an internship. Well, I mentioned to my boss that she was a good programmer and wanted a job near campus for the summer. So, interview, hire, etc.

Well, we're going to have some very bad team dynamics here in a few days since I'm breaking up with her tonight since I found out she's been cheating on me. Thankfully not with anyone else in the office. But there's only 10 people in the company total, including the 3 interns of which she is one. So, yeah, it's going to be interesting. I have to work with her on a daily basis. My guess is she'll just quit, which sucks. She quits everything though. Oh well. Romance + office - romance = unhappy office.

Re:Seeing this at my place (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | about 8 years ago | (#15652320)

My guess is she'll just quit, which sucks. She quits everything though.

Sucks? Better that she'd quit than if she'd stay and spread annoying office gossip about you...

-b.

Taboo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15651479)

Every workplace romance in a company that forbids such behavior, has the added element of conspiring to break the rules. That's what makes it worth doing.

What about Bill and Melinda? (1)

Digitus1337 (671442) | about 8 years ago | (#15663288)

Seems a bit unfair.
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