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Any options for me?

Discussion in 'Discrimination & Sexual Harassment' started by Polyscigirl, Sep 4, 2016.

  1. Polyscigirl

    Polyscigirl Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I had an affair with a married colleague (we'll call him Bob) who then became my boss. I worked for a non profit to which Bob was a consultant. His business partner offered me a job, without knowledge of the affair, and I accepted under the promise I would learn valuable skills to move ahead in my career. Once Bob became my boss we mutually agreed to end the affair (which was cordial and without drama) and I have been excelling at the job and very happy there for the past month.

    Bob's wife found out about the affair after it ended and is now demanding I be removed from the workplace. Although they have not fired me as of yet, this all just happened 3 days ago, they are trying to come up with a work from home solution or something similar.

    By being removed from the main office I will most likely not receive the training I was promised and Bob has agreed (in order to save his marriage) to have no contact with me. Pretty hard to perform my job if I can have no contact with my boss.

    I live in Virginia, a right to work state, and I don't know if there are any legal protections for me in this unfortunate and regrettable scenario.

    Please advise.
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    There are very few legal protections for most employees, as regards job longevity.

    Absent an employment contract or a CBA, there are few guarantees in the workplace.

    The good news is that most people are resilient and able to forge their own way in the world.

    Take your situation for example, I'm sure you've acquired a mountain of knowledge after your recent escapade. You'll be able to apply your knowledge to avoid certain pitfalls in the future. Best of luck to you in all of your future endeavors.
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    All "right to work" means is that you cannot be compelled to join a union to get work and you cannot be fired for joining a union.

    The phrase you need to be concerned is "employed at will" which means that you can be fired for any reason that's not prohibited by law.

    The way you find out is you consult an employment attorney. There might, or might not, be some sexual harassment issues here if your job is adversely affected because your former consort is your boss now.

    At any rate, the time to get a lawyer is NOW, while you still have an income with which to pay one.
  4. hrforme

    hrforme Active Member

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    I don't see a case. You can consult a lawyer, but unless your relationship with that boss was not consensual (and you are saying it was) and it happened BEFORE you were hired and it stopped when you were hired a month ago, I don't see sexual harassment. You weren't forced to continue the relationship to get or keep the job, were you? Doesn't sound like it from your description.

    Instead I see consequences for bad judgment/actions, which is not illegal in the workplace. Basically you brought personal issues (the prior relationship) into the workplace. And in an "at will" employment relationship, they don't need cause to terminate you unless you have some type of contract.

    If the business partner had known about the affair and hired you anyway and then used that knowledge against you, you might (but doubtful) have a complaint, but you withheld that knowledge and placed yourself in a situation that you should have known could turn bad. You did it to further your career and sounds like you didn't use good judgment and think through the possible negative consequences and now they are coming back to bite you.

    I'd cut your losses at this point and move on. You can bet that you won't advance and they have good reason (nondisclosure of the relationship and how it is currently affecting the workplace/partnership) to do so. Your best hope is that you get a good reference.
  5. ElleMD

    ElleMD Well-Known Member

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    Sleeping with your married boss is a horrible idea and does not afford you any protections from the consequences of your actions. I would highly suggest seeking employment elsewhere. There are any number of unpleasant outcomes from sleeping with your boss.
    hrforme likes this.

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