In a poorer scenario, the relationship would end badly, one of the employees could claim that the relationship was non-consensual, or that sexual harassment existed.
An employee could even make a case for unlawful retaliation if he or she receives a poor performance review from a former lover (or if a co-worker receives a better evaluation from his or her boss).
Relationships between supervisors and subordinates do create problems, though.
Other workers may claim that the subordinate employee received preferential treatment.
Essentially, any relationship between two people that could have a negative effect on the company if things sour, or if one party is able to improperly influence the other would fall under the policy.
One last generally acceptable rule: If you have a "C" (think CEO, CFO, COO) or VP in your title, you should always think twice about dating anyone in the workplace, even if he or she is not a direct report or within your chain of command.
Even if it does not violate a written policy, your boss (the CEO or the board) might not care, and view it as a lack of senior management acumen.
Think of it this way: Is the potential relationship worth risking your good job or name?
But a lot of companies don't let the rank and file decide--they adopt policies that ban or limit workplace dating--all in the name of lowering liability.
Enforcing these policies can take their toll on a company. Earlier this year, Best Buy's chief executive, Brian Dunn, stepped down after an investigation by the board discovered he had shown "extremely poor judgment" with a 29-year-old female employee.
According to the Career Builder survey, some industries are more prone to inter-office dating than others.
Hospitality, Financial Services, Transportation and Utilities, Information Technology, and Health Services all topped the list as having higher than average office dating.
There will foreseeably be claims of favoritism, or even discrimination or harassment.