Affair Between Employee and My Husband

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about an affair.

My husband had an affair with one of our employees. I still have to work under the same roof as her. The mental anguish is killing me! Do I have no right to fire her?

Signed, Tortured Mentally

Dear Tortured Mentally:

You may wish to consult an attorney to make sure there are no issues involved that could create problems for you and the business. The main one I can think of is if you are a business of over a few employees (which would put you under EEO requirements) and this employee claims she was forced to have a relationship but you fired her for it. Then, the matter could become a sexual harassment issue if she chose to pursue it in that way.

If she claims that situation already, you will certainly want to investigate it to find out what the involvement of your husband was. That doesn’t seem to be an issue though.You refer to “our employees” which indicates to me that you are not a large business or the government. In those situations there are rules and requirements about the dismissal process–or perhaps the EEO issues referred to above. However, even in those organizations having an affair in the workplace can easily result in dismissal.Unless there is something very unusual, this would be no different than dismissing her for some other violation or just because you don’t need her to work there anymore.

I think there are plenty of reasons to dismiss her: You no longer trust her, she used poor judgment, she showed a lack of ethics, her presence is disruptive to you and perhaps to others, you don’t feel comfortable communicating with her, which makes it impossible to get work done effectively and, she will continue to harm your marriage just by her presence.You won’t need to go through that list with her because she’s probably waiting for you to dismiss her anyway.

You could even send her a letter using the phrase big businesses use: “This is to inform you that we’re reorganizing the work at XXX and will no longer need your services. If you have personal property at work, you may come in between, ___ and ___and Mary Smith will assist you in getting it.Within one week we will mail you a check for (list the number of days of work time involved and any vacation or sick time or bonuses due.”

Get this over with so you can move forward and focus on dealing with the other issues involved. Best wishes during this troubling time.

Tina Lewis Rowe