Workplace Dating Surprisingly Common, Survey Finds

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

February 9, 2017

More than four in 10 workers have dated a co-worker, according to a survey released today by the job search website CareerBuilder.

Among those who dated a coworker, 29% reported having dated a coworker in a higher position and 15% reported having dated their bosses. Relationships between supervisors and subordinates can heighten the risks of employee claims of discrimination, harassment and unfair treatment.

Workplace romance also can result in employee attrition. Some workers (5%) who have had an office romance reported that they have left a job because of an office relationship gone sour.

Alarmingly for employers, about 40% of workers who have had an office romance said they had to keep the relationship a secret at work. Whether they were doing so at the behest of their employer or because they were in violation of workplace policies or love contracts was not clear.

According to CareerBuilder, the survey involved a representative sample of roughly 3,400 full-time, private sector workers across industries and company sizes. It was conducted online by Harris Poll last November and December.

"We utilize the Harris Poll Online (HPOL) Panel and our trusted panel partners, as needed - online panels of millions of people worldwide who have agreed to participate in survey research - as the primary sample frame," CareerBuilder Corporate Communications Manager Ladan Nikravan said in an email to XpertHR. "HPOL panelists are recruited through over 100 different sources and campaigns, and all panelists have completed a 'confirmed' or 'double opt-in' process."