In some corporate cultures, that may be true. "It really varies a lot from one company to another," Campbell observes. "In some cultures, half the employees are dating, or married to, the other half and it's not a problem -- at least not yet." In many other companies, though, office romances are strongly discouraged, or even prohibited.
Especially ominous for employers (and their lawyers) is that, as a group, the millennial generation is more than three times more likely to see no problem with dating their supervisors than all other age groups combined, the Workplace Options study notes: 40% of millennials would get involved with a boss, versus just 12% of older employees.
"There is a lot of potential liability if one party in a relationship reports to the other," Campbell says. "One concern is, what about the people who are not in the relationship? Employers are responsible for making sure there is no perceived, or actual, favoritism" -- where, for example, the boss' sweetie gets better assignments than everybody else.
It's a big reason why some companies have a policy of separating the lovebirds, either by moving one of them to a different part of the firm or, if that's not possible, asking one or the other to resign. "That's a best practice, not a legal requirement," Campbell notes. "But it does minimize the company's legal liability."
When a supervisor and a subordinate are involved with each other, she adds, the part of the cupid contract that says the romance is voluntary is especially important, from a legal point of view: "It establishes from the outset that there is no quid pro quo sexual harassment taking place." That's the kind where a boss tells an underling, for example, "You can have a raise if you sleep with me."
Of course, that doesn't apply to you and your boyfriend -- but I bet this whole subject is a bigger can of worms than you suspected. Considering all the various ways that office romances can turn ugly and litigious, having to sign a cupid contract might not seem so strange.
Talkback: Have you ever been involved with a coworker, or a boss? If so, what effect (if any) did it have on your job, or your career? Leave a comment below.