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If it's just about sex—a dalliance, an extramarital affair or a relationship entered into with the intention of moving up the career ladder—coworkers and companies tend to frown on love relationships in the workplace. In checking out current research on workplace romance to answer Tina Turner's proverbial question, the answer is, it depends.Office relationships are often the focus of intense gossip, so supervisors need to know how to keep their ears open for damaging behaviors.Supervisors should understand the appropriate disciplinary actions they should take if a romance derails and disrupts the workplace as a result.The SHRM research also found that some companies forbid hookups between their employees and clients or customers, and 11 percent forbid romances between their employees and employees of their competitors.

That’s up from 80 percent in 2005, and from 64 percent in SHRM’s 2001 Workplace Romance survey.One SHRM study found that only 12 percent of the surveyed organizations provided training to managers and supervisors regarding how to manage workplace romances.A good first step would be to advise supervisors and managers as to how they might discreetly address overt sexual behavior in the workplace.Policies are developed to guide employees in creating a legal, ethical, harmonious workplace, not to control the bad behavior of a few.You might consider a policy that prohibits supervisors from dating any employee who reports directly to him or her.

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