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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.

But consider this: according to a recent Workplace Options survey, nearly 85% of 18-29 year olds would have a romantic relationship with a co-worker, compared to just over 35% for 30-46 year olds and about 30% of 47-66 year olds.

Even more shocking is that 40% of those 18-29 year olds would date their supervisors.

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.

Just last month, Gary Friedman, the chief executive of Restoration Hardware, stepped down in the middle of the company's public offering. A couple years ago, Hewlett-Packard's chief executive, Mike Hurd, resigned amid accusations of falsifying expense reports to hide a personal relationship with an independent contractor.

Generally, policies cover not only employees, but also contractors, vendors, suppliers, manufacturers, and the like.But the caution was worth it: Five years after that first date, he proposed.A decade ago their romance would have been expressly forbidden.In a better scenario, coworkers would find it easier to claim that an employee received preferential treatment from a supervisor he or she is dating.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.

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  1. I am a consultant on Philip Beesley’s SSHRC (Social Sciences and Research Council, Canada) grant entitled ‘Responsive Architectures’, which investigates a sculptural vision of architectural surfaces composed of interlocking matrixes of various natures (conducted through the Architecture program at the University of Waterloo, Ontario).