This Valentine's Day, workers have growing concern that openly dating a coworker could jeopardize job security or career advancement, according to the 2010 Office Romance Survey conducted by Monster.com, the leading global online career and recruitment resource and flagship brand of Monster Worldwide, Inc., on behalf of Spherion Corporation. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of U.S. workers agree that openly dating a coworker could jeopardize job security or advancement. Further, the latest findings show that 75 percent agree that workplace relationships can lead to conflict at work, and another 62 percent believe they are a distraction.

Of the 53 percent of workers who have had a crush on a coworker, only 36 percent have had a workplace relationship, according to the study. For those workers willing to pursue dating on the job, most would limit their dating to coworkers outside their department. The study finds that 48 percent would consider dating a coworker in another department compared to only 21 percent who would consider dating a coworker in the same department. In addition, one-quarter would consider dating a supervisor from another department, compared to only nine percent who would consider dating their own supervisor.

"In healthier economic environments, workers seemed somewhat more willing to throw caution to the wind when it came to finding love in the workplace. However, amidst high unemployment rates, layoffs and restructurings, most workers seem to be playing it safe, opting to minimize workplace distractions and conflict that may result from workplace dating and are more focused on protecting their current employment," says John Heins, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Spherion.

"Alongside the reluctance among workers to pursue workplace dating is the perceived ambiguity of a company policy. When employers clearly communicate their policies and procedures and provide appropriate training, workers better understand what is expected and can make better decisions related to performance or conduct," said Heins.