Want My Wife Fired

Question:
I caught my wife’s lover in my home, and after I threw him out, my wife confessed to having a 3 month affair with this guy. I investigated and found out he works with her and she told him about the job opening. I want her fired. Will calling HR be enough?

Signed-Want Her Fired

Answer:

Dear Want Her Fired:
Will calling HR be enough? Maybe. The question you do not raise is a more important one: Then what? Let’s suppose that you succeed in getting your wife fired? She then will be unemployed and must job search. Your home will be without the money she earns. If you vent your anger at your wife either she or you may decide to separate and file for divorce. Will you kick her out or will she kick you out of your home? If you rent who will pay the rent, and if you are buy a house, who will pay the mortgage? And if the divorce is successful, even if you can prove she has had an affair, dividing up the possessions likely will be half and half.  If you have children, do you not think they will suffer? Do you not think a judge would grant her child support?

In short, my quick answer is to suggest that you carefully weigh what you do before venting your anger to Human Resources? Yes, her company might fire your wife or the man with whom you say she is having an affair, or both of them. Employers know that affairs cause gossip and can distract from job performance. They know if one in the affair is a superior to another and the affair sours that sexual harassment might cost the company money. Conversely, employers also know that employees can be attracted to one another and that the excitement of romance doesn’t always harm their productivity.

In some cases an employer simply decides not to be involved in personal affairs of employees unless one of them is a boss of the other and/or performance has been affected.

We are not marriage counselors; however, we know that infidelity provokes anger and revenge. We cannot know from a distance what has been going on in or outside of your marriage. Both of you and your wife have important decisions ahead. You each will have to decide what course to take, what attitude and how your will express your feelings. Talking with each other about how you have and have not been communicating is important. It’s even more important to talk to each other now about how you want to be talked to. It might seem contradictory, but can you see this affair as an opportunity—maybe it’s time for the kind of frank talk that you have not done in the past?

If you will read thoroughly some of the advice associate Workplace Doctor Tina Lewis Rowe provides to questions about affairs at work, you should better understand your own situation. I think it would be a mistake to go to HR, as you probably have guessed from these remarks. Now rather it is a time for getting advice for you alone or for you and your wife together as you decide about what will be the next steps in your relationship and regarding her employment. She needs to decide if the affair should continue and if that is good for her job. If you and she want your marriage not end, she needs to decide if she should change jobs.

Working together with hands, head, and heart, takes and makes big WEGOS, and that is what employees are hired to do—to make their workplace productive. Sometimes a romantic attraction distracts from that central purpose of an organization. It should not. In your wife’s case, something happened outside of what she was hired to do.

My best to you at this time of trouble. Life is short and you both will want to be proud of how you handled this disruption in your lives. I hope you find these few thoughts make sense. Feel free to say if they don’t.

William Gorden