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.

dating and the office supervisor-44

She said the same activity can make the affected couple feel harassed, which can lead to workplace harassment or bullying charges from them.

Additionally, there is the potential for employees to seek out employment elsewhere when relationships come to an end.

"Whether that be transferring one of the employees to a different division or even termination." Storrings said the key to any office romance policy is clearly defining fraternization and what is and isn't allowed.

"There is always a concern you could go too far in what you prohibit so that you actually affect the rights of employees to engage in certain activities," he said.

"Invariably,most relationships will come to an end and there could come a point where one person wants the relationship to continue and the other person doesn't," Storrings said.

"Sooner or later, unwanted advances could create a hostile work environment claim, so you need to be very careful there." In addition to the legal consequences that could arise, Austin said office relationships can have an overall negative impact on the workplace.While all office romances have the potential to cause problems, those that involve a supervisor and one of their subordinates can have the largest ramifications.[6 Ways to Handle Annoying Co-Workers] Areva Martin, managing partner of the Los Angeles-based law firm Martin & Martin LLP, said in those situations there can be appearances of favoritism when it comes to work assignments and pay raises, which can negatively affect an entire office."If it is going to be a disciplinary process, then just be consistent." While many small businesses may think office romance policies aren't necessary, Martin believes they are the ones who can benefit most from it.She said no business is too small not to be worried about liability.When co-workers mix business with pleasure, it's important for employers to take note.