According to a Vault.com 2006 survey, 58% of the 693 respondents said they have been in an office romance. This is up from 52% just two years ago. Some might say that office romances are inevitable given the amount of time we all spend at work. But as many employers are discovering, it is an issue that they are being confronted by with more regularity.
Many employers frown on dating in the workplace, particularly between manager and subordinate. Obviously, there are several negative scenarios that can occur including claims of favoritism, discrimination, and/or in the extreme worst case scenario, workplace violence when a relationship turns sour.
While you may want to write a policy prohibiting dating or fraternization in the office, it may not stand up in a court of law, if challenged. Instead, follow a course of action as suggested by Ethan A. Winning in his article, The Dating Game Moves to the Workplace, â…as soon as a supervisor and subordinate begin a “relationship,” a senior manager should talk with the supervisor and warn him or her as to the “dangers” there are in such relationships, and the possible effect such dating could have on other employees. You might even suggest that one or the other or both look for jobs elsewhere and assist them in their search. Be careful: since most relationships (as of this writing) are between a male supervisor and a female subordinate, and supervisors are harder to replace, if you continuously ask the woman to leave in such circumstances, you may (legitimately) face sex discrimination claims.â?
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