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In a recent Career survey, 39 percent of respondents said they’d dated a co-worker . In fact, it’s practically inevitable that, sooner or later, two of your employees will get together and start a relationship. For some, it’s just hard to meet new people, and after-work-socializing functions provide an easy way to do that.For others, at an after-work-event for the first time they see a relaxed, funny, or witty side of a coworker that suddenly makes that person attractive.The second type is a “hostile work environment,” in which an individual must show: (1) he or she was subjected to conduct of a harassing nature because of his or her sex; (2) the conduct was both subjectively and objectively unwelcome; and (3) the conduct was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the employee’s working environment so as to create an abusive working environment.At some time during your working life, you may have dated, or even married, someone you met at work.Most of the entanglements occurred between two peers, but 29 percent of workers who’d dated a colleague said it was someone who outranked them in the company’s hierarchy, and 16 percent admitted to dating their boss.Women (38 percent) were more likely than men (21 percent) to date a higher-ranking colleague. According to the survey, social settings outside of the office were the most common, followed by running into each other outside of work, attending happy hours, spending late nights at the office, and going to lunch.
A 1995 survey estimated that 80 percent of all employees have either observed or been involved in a romantic relationship at work. The Problems with Employee Dating Even though romantic relationships in the workplace are common, employers have legitimate reasons for concern about employee dating.
Relationships Between Supervisors and Subordinates While any relationship between employees may cause problems in the workplace, the level of exposure to employers increases when a romantic relationship develops between a supervisor and subordinate.
Such relationships can have actual and resonating effects on the workplace because of the power inequalities in the positions and the insecurity the relationship may create for other employees, especially those who report to the supervisor.
So, can an employer do something about these concerns?
Is it legal to fully prohibit employees from dating one another?