"Companies should have policies in place and there should be a lot of training on them," she said."Particularly sexual harassment training, because oftentimes employees don't know of the liability that can potentially arise from office romances and how disruptive and harmful they can be in the workplace." Fiester said companies that do have a policy in place need to be sure it's enforced consistently at all levels of the organization.
The study discovered that in 2013, 42 percent of employers had a written or verbal policy on workplace romances, almost twice the number that had a policy in 2005.
Storrings agreed that all employers, regardless of size, should have a formal policy on office relationships that include what is allowed and what the consequences are if the rules are broken.
"There is a feeling (among other employees) that that individual cannot be fair or objective in making decisions if they have some kind of personal relationship," Martin said of a manager who is dating one of their employees.
"It can be very problematic for an employer." In addition, when that relationship comes to an end there are huge possibilities for sexual harassment lawsuits from the subordinate.
"Office romances that end badly can spill over into the daily work environment," Austin said.