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Companies need clearer rules on workplace relationships, study suggests

Love may take root at the office, but many Canadians keep their workplace romance a secret, possibly because of gaps in company policy, a new study has revealed.

Roughly one in three people who responded to a survey from ADP Canada, a Toronto-based human resources consulting firm, admitted to having a workplace relationship at some point in their career. That went up to four in 10 for younger employees, between 18 and 34 years old.

But nearly half of the 880 respondents in such relationships, or roughly 45 per cent, said they’ve kept it a secret from at least one colleague, while 27 per cent said they didn’t tell anyone at work.

Part of the secrecy could be due to fear of penalization or employees not being aware of company policies, ADP Canada said.

Roughly 50 per cent of respondents said their employer doesn’t have a formal policy around relationships.

Meanwhile, seven per cent of people admitted to feeling pressured into a romantic relationship on the job to be considered for favourable projects, advance their career, or be in good standing. That number rose to 15 per cent in B.C.

“HR policies should not exist to control employees, but to protect them,” said vice president of marketing Heather Haslam.

“These statistics represent a call to action for organizations to make their policies clear to employees and to offer them the support and resources they need to feel comfortable navigating these situations.”


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ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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