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Raleigh, N.C. (November 21, 2017) – In the wake of recent political and celebrity scandals, a new focus is being placed on sexual harassment and romantic relationships in the workplace. A new poll commissioned by Workplace Options, a leading global provider of integrated employee wellbeing services, produced data that should be of interest to employers around the world. For instance, 47 percent of respondents aged 18-29 years old said that if single, they would allow themselves to enter into a romantic relationship with their supervisor.
“When almost half of younger workers say that they would enter into a romantic relationship with their supervisor, you can see how more education and training would benefit employees,” said Dean Debnam, chief executive officer of Workplace Options.
Results of the poll showed contrasts in how younger employees responded compared to all other age groups. When asked about the most significant positive result of having an office romance, younger employees (age 18-29) reported “achieving higher social or professional status at work” would be the most significant positive result, at 39 percent – more than five times higher than all other age groups polled (ages 30-45, 46-65, and over 65). Furthermore, an additional 20 percent of younger respondents say that “favoritism” would be the most significant positive result. 32 percent of younger respondents said that there would be “no positive result”, the least of all age groups.
Poll results also show that:
- 33 percent of respondents claim to have had a past romantic relationship with a co-worker
- 25 percent of all respondents said they would enter into a relationship with their supervisor if single
- 50 percent of workers stated their employer does not have a policy on romantic relationships, and another 18 percent are not sure if their employer has such a policy
- 25 percent of respondents say they have witnessed sexual harassment in the workplace
- 20 percent report having personally experienced sexual harassment in the workplace
“20 percent of employees saying they have been sexually harassed in the workplace is unacceptable. Something that continues to be a problem with sexual harassment is employers not being proactive enough towards prevention,” Debnam explained. “The power equation is a key factor in many sexual harassment scenarios where people may respond in a certain way because they feel obligated,” added Debnam.
Half of workers say that their employer does not have rules governing romantic relationships in the workplace. “An organization that isn’t being proactive with sexual harassment training and relationship policies is sitting on a time bomb,” commented Debnam. “Companies can almost completely eliminate their potential liability by being proactive in training their employees and having clear corporate policies, coupled with a timely appropriate response to any incidents.”
Deeper poll data shows:
- Almost one in three women (31 percent) have reported personally experiencing sexual harassment compared with seven percent of men
- 30 percent of younger employees (age 18-29) have reported personally experiencing sexual harassment – compared to 19 percent of those age 30-45, 22 percent of those age 46-65, and 11 percent of those over 65
The national poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling on November 6-8 and is based on responses from 603 working Americans. The margin of error is +/- 4 percent. Full results are available online HERE.
About Workplace Options
Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family and personal needs to become healthier, happier and more productive, both personally and professionally. The company’s world-class employee support, effectiveness and wellbeing services provide information, resources, referrals and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care and stress management to clinical services and wellness programs.
Drawing from an international network of credentialed providers and professionals, Workplace Options is the world’s largest integrated employee support and work-life services provider. Service centers in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Portugal, France, Belgium, UAE, Singapore, Japan, China, India and Indonesia support more than 53 million employees across 78,000 organizations and more than 200 countries and territories. To learn more, visit www.workplaceoptions.com.