Johnny C. Taylor Jr.
Johnny C. Taylor Jr., a human resources expert, is tackling your questions as part of a series for USA TODAY. Taylor is president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, the world’s largest HR professional society.
The questions are submitted by readers, and Taylor’s answers below have been edited for length and clarity.
Have a question? Do you have an HR or work-related question you’d like me to answer? Submit it here.
Question: I have recently entered into a romantic relationship with one of my colleagues. This person is a manager, which is higher than my role, but this person is in a different department. Do we have to disclose our relationship to HR? – Anonymous
Johnny C. Taylor Jr.: Short answer: It depends. Many employers have policies addressing workplace relationships and can require you to disclose this to HR upfront – especially if it poses a conflict of interest or could impact the organization’s bottom line.
I’ll note your situation isn’t unusual. As I write this, more than one-third of U.S. workers have been in or are currently involved in a workplace romance, and a majority (75%) have not disclosed their relationship to their employer.
That said, my first piece of advice is to check your company’s handbook to see if there is a policy requiring you to disclose a workplace relationship to HR or your people manager.
Typically, if a relationship involves a supervisor (even if they are in a different department), there…