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Workplace Dating – Dangerous Liasons

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Flap previously covered the firing of Los Angeles television KNBC reporter, Kyung Lah. Read the updated story here.

Now, there is a column by Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-times that discusses Kyung’s demise and the phenomenon of risky workplace dating behavior. Interesting enough Kyung Lah was a television reporter in Chicago before leaving for Los Angeles. The story is found here:

…Of course, take any workplace of more than a dozen people, and it’s a virtual certainty that somebody there has been involved or is involved with somebody else.

A dozen? Check that. You could put three people in an office, and there’s a decent chance that two of them will end up having an affair, and the third one will be bummed because he won’t have anyone with whom to gossip about it.

Everyone knows it’s a dicey situation when co-workers get together, even in those rare instances where their employment status is absolutely equal and there’s zero chance the relationship will impact their production or anyone else’s.

But it happens — and if you think it’s nobody’s business, you haven’t been paying attention to recent headlines. These days, you can get fired for having an affair. You can also get fired if you know about an affair and you don’t report it to management — or if you allegedly rat out your colleagues for supposedly fooling around.

We’ll get to that last one in a moment. First, the soap opera last month at a Los Angeles TV station that resulted in two producers and a reporter losing their jobs. Former CBS-2 reporter Kyung Lah was working for KNBC-TV and reportedly was having an affair with her field producer, Jeff Soto. Both are married. According to the stories I read, the two were fired not because the affair had led to any on-air or behind-the-scenes problems, but just because they were having an affair and the station considers that “gross misconduct.” The producer of KNBC-TV’s 11 p.m. newscast also was fired, reportedly because he knew about the affair and didn’t inform upper management.

Put yourself in that latter producer’s position. Either you tell management about the affair, or you risk losing your job. Hardly seems fair.

And as you’ll recall, earlier this year, Boeing President and CEO Harry Stonecipher was asked to resign because he had a “personal relationship … [with] a female executive of the company who did not report directly to him,” as the company said in a statement…

Roeper’s take on the story is that people are inclined to this behavior so why punish the Perps or the folks covering up the dangerous affairs.

The story goes beyond individual responsibility and social mores. Corporate America expects and demands certain behavior for the efficient execution of commerce and markets. Corporate mores have seemed to superceded plain old morality.

Go figure.

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