Suspected The Boss’s Affair

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about boss’ affair:

Over the past 6 months I had suspected that my boss (who is a friend) had been having an affair with a secretary in a different department. I didn’t have any hard-core proof other than just his irregular behavior and I had seen them in the same location but in separate vehicles. I approached him three different times over the course of the six months and each time he denied it.

Long story short, they were exchanging e-mails at work and the secretary left an email from my boss on her screen. Another employee found it and reported it. When I was asked about the situation, I said that I did suspect something, but didn’t have any proof so I never said anything. I previously worked in HR and was trained that you must have proof when dealing with a situation like this. Anyway, I was written up because I failed to bring this situation to upper management meaning my boss’ boss. As a part of my written reprimand, I was told to research what I had done wrong and how I should have handled the situation differently. The problem is I don’t feel like I handled the situation wrong. How could I have gone to my boss’ boss and told him that I think my boss is having an affair but I don’t have any proof? Please advise… Thank you!

Signed, Didn’t Report It

Dear┬áDidn’t Report It:

When a person is written up, she/he can submit a refutation of that reprimand. Also, you can appeal the write-up. Succinctly state in writing what you wrote us and request that the write-up be rescinded; that you had no proof of an affair and that you believe that you should not say what you have no proof. Check your organization’s policy book and I expect that you will find a clause that states employees should not gossip and/ or contribute to rumors. If you find such a clause, add that to your refutation. I doubt that your policy book requires that employees report on their boss for an affair.

Since you have HR experience you can add that you had been trained to not say what you did not know as fact. You might find such statements in the HR’s association code of conduct.I don’t know what you have said so far, but you did more than what most employees would have the courage to do; to speak to one’s boss about suspecting him/her of having an affair. Your boss’s denial would not be unexpected even though you and he were friends. Boss-secretary affairs do happen within the workplace. They sometimes result in a new loving commitment; however, too often they result in a broken marriage and one, the other or both being fired. Occasionally they sour and the company is sued for ignoring what could be construed as sexual harassment.In your letter of refutation, ask that you be provided a hearing and informed of the channels for an appeal if this write-up is not rescinded.

Avoid gossip about being written up and the affair. Continue to go about your assignments in a professional manner. Working together with hands, head and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Let that be your goal.

William Gorden