Office Romances Increasingly Out in the Open

Last Updated Oct 12, 2007 1:46 PM EDT

Office Romances Increasingly Out in the OpenOffice romance may have been around for as long as there have been offices, but what was once a clandestine secret to be kept hidden from the disapproving eyes of HR, has become a more and more acceptable and open part of working life, the NY Times reports this week.
The Times traces the highs and lows of the office romance in the last decades and identifies Justice Clarence Thomas's confirmation hearing as the start of real awareness and concern about sexual harassment in the workplace.
His confrontation with Anita Hill in 1991 and the moment when most Americans became educated about sexual harassment. In the years that followed, harassment claims poured in to regulatory agencies, and newspapers published accounts of multimillion-dollar court judgments against employers. Businesses rushed to write anti-harassment policies and to enroll employees in sensitivity training. Workplace relationships, even those not between a boss and a junior employee, were largely conducted surreptitiously.
But these days that concern seems to be fading. Some statistics:
The Society for Human Resources Management survey also found respondents had a variety of policies regarding office relationships. "Only 9 percent of HR professionals surveyed say dating among employees is prohibited... more than 70 percent of organizations did not have formal written or verbal policies dealing with romantic liaisons between employees." Are these companies without policies about dating in the workplace opening themselves up to trouble?

(Image of lipstick kiss by Anyaka, CC 2.0)

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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.