Dating and the office

Although some companies may frown upon office romances, true love can still bloom in the workplace.However, there's a right and a wrong way to handle romantic relationships that spring up in the office, from both an employer and employee perspective.Just last month, Gary Friedman, the chief executive of Restoration Hardware, stepped down in the middle of the company's public offering. A couple years ago, Hewlett-Packard's chief executive, Mike Hurd, resigned amid accusations of falsifying expense reports to hide a personal relationship with an independent contractor.The reason: an internal inquiry into his relationship with a 26-year-old female employee. As companies grow and add employees, you will often see signs of budding workplace relationships.Depending on the circumstances, failing to do so could cost you a raise, a promotion – or even your job.Of course, warnings about the dangers of workplace dating and office hookups are nothing new.Aside from the negative implications of a managerial relationship between two lovebirds, Steve Albrecht, an HR and security consulting professional, said co-workers don't like to see kissing at the water cooler or baby talk between two adults.

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He's also a former talk radio host (KTLK AM 1150 at Clear Channel) and an entrepreneur himself, as the founder of Legal Endeavor.

We spoke with HR experts about how to best approach the issue of dating in the workplace.

There are a lot of risks involved with in-office relationships regarding the image and morale of your company.

But here’s the thing: Whether or not there are policies forbidding them, office relationships happen.

A recent survey by Career Builder found that nearly 40% of employees admitted to having a romantic relationship with a co-worker.

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