Q & A Session – Dating a Subordinate


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


Is it wrong for a supervisor to date or have a relationship with a subordinate? Can a supervisor rent a room to that same subordinate?


Please review my column on sexual harassment in the federal workplace with a paragraph on dating subordinates.

While the situation you describe is not per se illegal if the relationship is willful, it may: 1) Violate agency rules against relationships with or dating of subordinates; 2) Create a claim of discrimination for the other women in the office; and 3) Raise favoritism issues that could constitute a prohibited personnel practice.


Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

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