Boss Is Having An Affair With Employee

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a boss/owner’s affair:

My boss, owner of the company, is having a sexual affair with an employee. This person is getting special treatment. When hours are to be cut, hers do not get cut. He talks down to everyone but her. She has made many mistakes and never receives any punishment, but if the rest of us make a small mistake, we hear about it. He has threatened to fire some for things that she has done. Are there laws against this or what can be done?

Signed, We Don’t Like It

Dear We Don’t Like It:

There are no laws I know of against an owner/boss playing favorites or having an affair with an employee, however unwise that is. What can be done? Probably not much. You can face up to the fact that an owner/boss can fall for an employee and overlook her mistakes and cut others’ hours but not hers. To face that fact might help you find other ways to focus on making your workplace profitable and in so doing might earn the respect of your boss. Also it might soften your anger toward her. After all, even if she has seduced your boss, it is he who is at fault if he treats the rest of you unfairly. You can gossip among yourselves about how unfair it is and voice your anger. That will not do much good. The odds are your boss will not fire all of you if you are united as a group of coworkers and have the courage to voice specific examples of favoritism. You and your coworkers can make a list when and where your owner/boss has favored his favorite. That probably will make you so afraid you will be fired that you will allow the list to grow mold.

You and your coworkers can think and act as a team, a team that wants to have a good place in which to work. Once you put your minds to that, rather than to gossip about how unfair is your boss, you will find ways to cut wasted supplies, wasted energy, wasted time and more importantly seek ways to make each others’ jobs easier, more effective and even more pleasant. A team asks for clarification about what needs to be done and who does what. I predict you boss will become more a coach if and when your conversations focus on constructive ways to shape your workplace to be productive and to deliver high quality. My signature sentence is: Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Think about how that might apply in your work environment. Use this frustration to sour you or to motivate you to voice that frustration or to focus on becoming a team. You have those options. Or allow this Q&A to prompt you to think of what else might you do. Pretend you are creative and you might surprise your self. Then if you still despair that this unfairness will ever pass, quietly hunt for another job. Does this make sense?

William Gorden