DATING a co-worker is bad enough, but dating your boss is even worse.
Qaqamba Klaas of Intsika Business Consulting, a human resources consulting and project management company in East London and Port Elizabeth, says about 80percent of employees have either observed or had an affair with their bosses.
Klaas says statistics show most relationships fail eventually. She warns that an affair with a boss can have a detrimental effect on a junior's career and on the dynamics of the workplace.
"This kind of a relationship tips the balance of power and that is usually why top management and co-workers are concerned about it. Fears surface about things such as special treatment or sharing confidential information."
She says accusations of favouritism are common in such cases and office morale can suffer as a result.
Klaas says another danger is that partners can distract each other and display inappropriate behaviour that makes other people very uncomfortable. She says the more private time the partners spend together during office hours, the more they alienate themselves from other colleagues.
She says relationship problems are usually carried over to the office, where one of the parties will end up taking his or her frustrations out on other colleagues.
"What's worse, jealousy may take its toll when a junior witnesses the boss flirting with new employees who, at the time, will provide excitement and challenge.
"The junior might be subjected to sensitive and confidential information, which can be used to sabotage the boss or the company."
Peter Neethling, a human resource manager at ValueGroup, also disapproves of office affairs.
He says while the potential benefits of such affairs look attractive, they are generally unhelpful to the welfare and effectiveness of the business and to the network of relationships it comprises.
Neethling says: "Since bosses have more power, the lower-level partner may suffer adverse consequences. When office relationships end - and they often do - the results can be unpleasant.
"The subordinate may find that this one simply isn't working out. Should she decide that it's time to break it off, hours spent at work might feel like an eternity in the early stages of the break-up," he says.
Neethling the boss might have no problem turning the subordinate's life into a living hell the moment anything bad happens, even if it's not her fault. He advises juniors to think about their career. He warns that dating a boss to get ahead might work in the short term, but if the affair ends, the junior might have to leave.
He says a junior's reputation usually suffers most.
"Most career circles are pretty small and dating a supervisor could close off some opportunities for the junior. While managers aren't usually fired for dating subordinates, it can affect their reputations within the company and make getting promoted difficult."
He says affairs can also lead to office gossip.
What attracts juniors to their bosses ?
Psychologist Asiphe Ndlela says many juniors are attracted to people who can make decisions, control resources and give instructions .
"Others seek security and stability," Ndlela says.
"High-level managers also have large salaries and attractive perks that act as romantic bait."