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:
- An online survey this year by CareerBuilder.com found a significant drop in the number of workers who are keeping an office romance a secret, down from 46 percent in 2005 to 34 percent in 2007.
- A survey last year by the Society for Human Resource Management and CareerJournal.com found that there was fading concern about potential sexual harassment allegations (77 percent were concerned about it in 2005, down from 95 percent in 2001) but increasing concern that office dating could cause conflict among jilted lovers.
- Forty-one percent of employed Americans ages 25Â–-40 have admitted to having engaged in an office romance, according to a joint survey sponsored by GLAMOUR magazine and lawyers.com. 76% say that they think office romances are more common today than they were 10 years ago.