Romance

Office Affairs Decline

Office romances are on the wane as lawsuits from co-workers not involved in the affair rise. Third parties claim that sex between co-workers causes a hostile work environment, and though the suits are tough to prove, they’re easy to allege. Many do so out of fear they’ll lose their jobs in the struggling economy. Retaliation suits (filed by workers who say they were canned so they couldn’t report discrimination) are a big part of an increase in workplace litigation. Such claims grew by 23 percent in 2008, twice as fast as the rate of other claims. A survey on Monster.com showed that three-quarters of workers in the U.S. think office affairs could cause turmoil, and 62 percent said they caused distraction. Likewise, earlier this year Careerbuilder.com found that just 37 percent of workers had taken part in an office romance, down from half in 2006. But office romance isn’t all bad: some experts argue that dating co-workers are less likely to call in sick, work longer, and don’t quit.