The policy may also state that you expect staff members to behave in a professional manner while dating.Let your employees know that you expect that office romances, relationships or affairs will be kept separate from the work environment.From data gathered from a survey of several thousand employers and employees, she determined that inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace is common on company time and at company locations.

I don’t recommend a policy that prohibits dating, sex and romance entirely.

Any policy that is seen as onerous, overreaching or intrusive will just encourage stealth dating.

Almost half these policies – 45 percent – forbid romances between employees of significantly different rank. Many organizations forbid intimate relationships even outside supervisory relationships.

Thirty-three percent of organizations forbid romances between employees who report to the same supervisor, and 12 percent won’t even allow employees in different departments to date.

Her findings indicated that most respondents do not mind seeing a romance develop between two unmarried colleagues.

They do object to relationships in which one or both coworkers are married to someone else, however, and they also object when the relationship is between a supervisor and his or her direct report. Poe, an HR freelance writer, also found in a Society for Human Resource Management white paper that adulterous affairs were a problem in some workplaces.

Regardless of whether your employer has a workplace romance policy in place, you’ll want to keep your relationship off workplace radar as much as possible.

If you and your partner have contact on a regular basis, keep the contact professional. Avoid talking privately in corners or behind closed doors, regularly eating lunch together without other coworkers, and -- above all -- touching.

According to Dana Wilkie, an online SHRM editor, periodic surveys by SHRM show that 99 percent of employers with romance policies in place indicate that love matches between supervisors and staff members are not allowed.

That’s up from 80 percent in 2005, and from 64 percent in SHRM’s 2001 Workplace Romance survey.

Office relationships are often the focus of intense gossip, so supervisors need to know how to keep their ears open for damaging behaviors.