Many Company Policies Don't Address Cupid's Arrow

Office romance may get the green light by default. According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), a majority of U.S.-based organizations (72%) don't have a written policy addressing workplace romance. The study also found that of the 617 human-resource professionals responding to the survey, 14% said their companies have an unwritten, yet widely understood, policy. This may seem a bit reckless considering the possible legal ramifications, but many companies have a safety net. "Companies that aren't putting forth a dating policy usually have a strong sexual harassment policy in place to protect them from lawsuits," notes Angela Camara, media affairs specialist at SHRM. Of those companies that do have some sort of policy (written or unwritten but understood), more than half say that the policy "permits but discourages" workplace romances, and 7% prohibit the affairs altogether. The reasoning: 88% are worried about potential sexual harassment claims; 75% are concerned about retaliation of scorned lovers; and 60% are worried about the morale of co-workers.

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