Workplace Romances Can End Happily in Marriage or Sometimes Unhappily in Lawsuits Against Employers

Just in time for February 14, the annual CareerBuilder Valentine’s Day Survey has revealed that 3 in 10 workers – 30 percent – who have dated a co-worker said their workplace romance led to marriage. However, the fact that nearly a third of all romances that started in the workplace resulted in marriage also means that more than two-thirds of such relationships may have already ended, perhaps even in a potentially messy breakup that could be bad for business.

Overall, the CareerBuilder survey found nearly four out of ten workers – 39 percent – said they had dated a co-worker at least once over the course of their career while 17 percent reported dating co-workers at least twice. Nearly three in ten workers – 29 percent – who dated a co-worker said they have dated someone higher up in their organization while 16 percent dated their boss. Women were more likely to date someone above them in the company hierarchy, 38 percent as compared to 21 percent of men.

The survey also revealed the top five industries for workplace romances were Leisure and Hospitality, Information Technology, Financial Services, Health Care, and Professional and Business Services. While most workers were open about dating a co-worker, more than one in three – 35 percent – said they had to keep the relationship a secret. The CareerBuilder Valentine’s Day Survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive between November 1 and November 30, 2012 among 4,216 full-time U.S. workers.

However, employers must sometimes also deal with office romances that turn sour, according to The Practical Employer blog ‘What Can Go Wrong When Employees Date?’ The blog includes an example of a sexual harassment claim stemming from a relationship between co-workers that ended in the case of Gerald v. University of Puerto Rico and suggests that companies “reinforce appropriate workplace behavior during harassment avoidance and response training instead of banning office romances.”

While the blog suggests employers should not prohibit office romances outright, employers should offer training about such personal relationships that includes advising employees that the company expects professional behavior regardless of the office relationship between employees whether past or present, offering examples of how to not to behave following an office relationship break-up, and telling employees unprofessional behavior following an office relationship will lead to discipline up to and including termination.

Background checks can also help ensure safe workplaces for employers, employees, and the general public. For more information about background checks for employment purposes, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority’ and nationwide screening firm accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) – at http://www.esrcheck.com, call toll free 888.999.4474, or email clientsupport@esrcheck.com.

Sources:

http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?sd=2%2f13%2f2013&siteid=cbpr&sc_cmp1=cb_pr40_&id=pr40&ed=12%2f31%2f2013

http://www.workforce.com/article/20130131/BLOGS07/130139993/what-can-go-wrong-when-employees-date

http://www.ca1.uscourts.gov/pdf.opinions/11-2143P-01A.pdf

About Employment Screening Resources (ESR):

Founded by safe hiring expert Attorney Les Rosen in 1997, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check AuthoritySM’– provides accurate and actionable information that empowers employers to make informed hiring decisions for the benefit of their organizations, employees, and the public. CEO Rosen literally wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual” and ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percent of screening firms. Employers choosing ESR know they have selected an agency meeting the highest industry standards. To learn more about ESR, visit http://www.esrcheck.com or call toll free 888.999.4474.

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