HR Strange But True!
February 07, 2008

Earlier this week, the HR Daily Advisor (a sister publication) explored the issue of whether employers should require romantically involved co-workers to sign "love contracts." Well, you may want to get those contracts a-crankin'--a new Vault survey found that 46% of employees admit to having been involved in an office romance.

(For those of you who may be wondering, a love contract is a document between the involved parties and the organization that recognizes the negative effects workplace romances often have and that states that the parties are agreeing on paper to do all in their power to avoid these effects.)

While almost half of workers admitted to an office romance, a whopping 82% said they had known of romances between co-workers, according to the annual office romance survey conducted by Vault, a media company that focuses on careers.

"There have been countless numbers of office romances," one respondent said. "Several are now married; many have been living together for years."

Many employees seem to leave their wedding rings at home, as 48% of respondents said they had known of a married co-worker having an affair with someone at the office.

But not all office romances are fly-by-night affairs. Among respondents, 20% said they had met their spouses or long-term significant others on the job.

Depending on your point of view, love can be either blind or eagle-eyed, as 15% of respondents admitted to dating a subordinate, and the same number confessed to dating their boss or another superior.

Oh, and beware that matchmaker in the next cubicle--10% of survey-takers said that they met their spouse or long-term significant other through co-workers.

Other survey findings include:
  • Almost one in four respondents (23%) admitted to meeting up for some clandestine coupling at their workplace, and 3% 'fessed up to being caught in the act
  • Almost half (47%) of respondents said they didn't know whether their organization has a policy on office romances
  • Four in 10 respondents said they knew of a married or seriously involved co-worker who had a romantic liaison with someone else while on a business trip for the company
  • Unwanted advances in the workplace were reported by 43% of respondents

So what to do when office romances sour? Well, in addition to a possible breach of love contract action, you might want to consider extending "heartache leave," such as that offered by the Japanese company we wrote about last week. Or better yet, why not join us for our February 14 audio conference, Love on the Job: 7 Steps for Recognizing and Effectively Managing Workplace Romance Issues.

Source: Vault

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