Can I Get In Trouble for Sex with the CEO?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about an affair: When I started work in July I was instantly attracted to our 39 year old owner/CEO of the company I work for.

I am a 24 year old woman who works as an accounting specialist. When I started work in July I was instantly attracted to our 39 year old owner/CEO of the company I work for. I found out in September that he just finalized his divorce and we started texting. One night after the bar things went further and we ended up having sex. My direct boss (CFO) found out that we had been texting and HR talked to me about how it is a really bad idea to be with the CEO and I should no longer text or call him. We have no rules on not being allowed to date within the company. I want to know if I can now get fired because of the relationship between me and the owner? I also would like to know if he can get in trouble at all? I really don’t want either of us to get in trouble since it was consensual. We both go to work do our jobs and remain professional while at work. I personally don’t think what we do outside of work should matter. However, I love my job and don’t want to lose it.

Signed, Concerned

Dear Concerned:

Unless you have a contract about your job, you could be fired for any reason, whether or not you were told it was directly because of your relationship with the CEO. He owns the company, so he may be asked to step down as CEO but he is after all, the owner of the company, so he’s not not going to be fired.

HR only told you it was a “bad idea”. It would seem to me that if you were in trouble, you would have been given a more stern warning. I’m surprised they didn’t. All it would take would be for you to allege that you felt coerced into having sex with the CEO and there could be serious trouble for the company.

The big question should be, how did the CFO find out you and the CEO were texting? If you didn’t show your texts to anyone, it would indicate that the CEO did. If I were you, that would concern me a lot. So, all of this could be problematic or it could be that you will be able to escape any serious problems. You should continue to be cautious, discreet and focused on your work. The relationship could be over in a few weeks or months, or perhaps it will be more long-term. Whatever happens, it will be good to be able to point to your good work and show that you are a valuable employee, apart from your relationship.Best wishes to you.

Tina Lewis Rowe