Princeton, N.J., -- Roughly 40 percent of employees have been involved in a workplace romance at some point in their careers, according to the new 2006 Workplace Romance report by CareerJournal.com, The Wall Street Journal's executive career site. This may explain why there is less negative stigma associated with workplace romance as only 4 percent of human resource (HR) professionals and 14 percent of employees felt that romance shouldn't be permitted at work.
The 2006 Workplace Romance report surveyed 493 HR professionals and 408 employees to explore their views and policies about dating at work. The report compares the findings to a similar report from 2001.
The 2006 survey found that more than 70 percent of organizations don't have policies on workplace romance and of those that do, the vast majority discourage dating rather than forbid it. Only 9% percent of organizations prohibit dating in the workplace entirely, especially between subordinates and supervisors.
"Office romance is inevitable at many companies when unmarried people work closely together," says Tony Lee, publisher, CareerJournal.com. "But colleagues who are dating should find out what their company's policies and restrictions are on workplace romance so they can avoid improper or embarrassing consequences."
Less Concern about Sexual Harassment Claims
The 2006 Workplace Romance report found that HR professionals have shifted their concerns about problems stemming from workplace romance during the past four years. In a similar survey conducted by CareerJournal.com in 2001, 95 percent of HR professionals feared sexual harassment claims would stem from office romances and just 12 percent were concerned about retaliation or conflicts between co-workers after a relationship ended. In this survey, HR professionals' sexual harassment concerns dropped to 77 percent from 95 percent, while retaliation concerns jumped dramatically to 67 percent from 12 percent.
Since the last survey, employees seem to favor less workplace romance policies but greater formal reprimands when policies are broken. Fifty-two percent of employees (compared with 8 percent in 2001) felt that a formal reprimand is appropriate for workers who violate employee policy. HR professionals (80 percent) and employees (60 percent) agreed that supervisors and subordinates shouldn't be dating.
On a happy note, HR professionals reported that 62 percent of those involved in workplace romances ended up getting married.