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With the workplace becoming the most likely place for Americans to meet romantic partners, what exactly are the rules about fraternizing with officemates? While policies vary company-to-company, here are some guidelines.
Studies show that as many as 80 percent of U.S. employees report some sort of social-sexual experience on the job.
Studies show that as many as 80 percent of U.S. employees report some sort of social-sexual experience on the job. Okay, so we're not so sure what a "social-sexual experience" entails, but according to Montana State Professor Charles Pierce, the workplace is now the most likely place for Americans to meet a romantic partner. And it makes sense. With women comprising almost half of today's workforce and with the ever-increasing hours today's workers are spending on the job, it's no surprise that colleagues are coupling up. But how do the companies feel about it?
These policies, however, have become much less common in recent years, and a growing number of companies are adopting more employee-sensitive positions toward office romance. Besides eradicating the old no-fraternization policies that are still on the books, companies are proactively creating policies that officially permit coworker dating and marriage. Pierce says employers are recognizing that "Employees often channel romantic energy into work tasks. They bring enthusiasm and energy to their work." Companies such as Ben & Jerry's, Bankers Trust, Apple Computers, Bain & Company, and Johnson & Johnson are all known for their pro-interactive positions.
But other companies are choosing to maintain policies that restrict inter-departmental dating, meaning if two employees who work in the same department become love-locked, one is expected to transfer to another department within the company. In general, smaller companies seem to have more of a laissez-faire attitude toward office romance.
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