In the age of sexual harassment claims, is the office romance dead?

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The allegations about Cuomo are causing debate among my co-workers. We spend most of our waking hours with our work colleagues. If it’s sexual harassment when one person expresses interest in another then millions of people who have found their mates at work were sexually harassed. Is it harassment simply to express interest in someone? How would you know unless you ask?

Well, if the person expressing interest is the boss, that boss is taking a huge risk. If the other party isn’t interested it’s mighty difficult for the other party to be comfortable in their job, even if the boss is then apologetic. If the other party does feel Cupid’s arrow, I’m happy for them both, but then one has to leave because the boss can’t be dating someone on their staff without creating an uncomfortable environment for everyone. If they both keep it a secret, there’s a big price to pay if they are found out (which almost always happens). But hey, you can’t put a price tag on true love! That situation is not what is being alleged in Cuomo’s case. Nor is it the case of most sexual-harassment claims. They aren’t trivial, “I misread the signals and I’m truly sorry” situations.

I was on a Zoom call and had to step away. I turned off my video but not my audio. I got into a fight with my partner and it turned into a screaming match. My boss said that next time I should turn off my audio and the meeting continued. I am mortified. What can I do?

If your boss or any of your colleagues had any decency they would have ended the call and resumed it with a new Zoom link. It’s horrible that they kept the line open. I would have apologized to the team and expressed how embarrassing that was for you. I also would have said that you wish someone would have ended the call, and I would have excused myself from the rest of the meeting. And then I wouldn’t mention it again. While you didn’t say any of that in the moment, you can still say it now and move on. As for you and your partner, there are different advice columns for that.

Gregory Giangrande has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources executive and is dedicated to helping New Yorkers get back to work. E-mail your questions to [email protected] Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggiangrande and at GoToGreg.com

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