CNN exec Zucker’s ouster shows peril of hiding work romance | Lifestyles

Most big corporations have a policy on workplace romance, but the majority of U.S. businesses do not, according to SHRM. Corporate policies can vary from forbidding all relationships to just forbidding relationships between managers and subordinates. Some simply require disclosure.

Among smaller businesses, there are rarely rules at all. Nearly 80% of U.S. workers say that their employer does not require them to disclose a workplace romance, according to the most recent data from SHRM.

And that can cause just as much trouble as employees keeping relationships secret from a company that actually has a policy.

A policy protects workers from “quid pro quo” relationships, it protects a company’s morale, and ideally protects against lawsuits and scandals.

“Companies that choose to look the other way are the ones that are allowing a smoldering fire to turn into an inferno,” said David Lewis, CEO of Operations Inc., a human resources consulting firm. “Countless organizations have chosen to not deal with these head on and have paid dearly as a result.”

The #MeToo movement shed light on toxic — and at times, criminal — workplace sexual misconduct that even the best office-romance policies are unlikely to prevent. That includes film studio Miramax failing to address long-running accusations against Harvey Weinstein, who was eventually convicted of rape and assault, and NBC’s brand being tarnished after sexual misconduct allegations against anchor Matt Lauer.

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