Occasionally I receive questions and comments from our readers. While I answer the majority of these emails privately, I thought it might be valuable for all of you to know what kinds of issues employees are experiencing on a daily basis.
I received this email from one of our readers:
"I am looking for advice. My boss is dating a manager that reports to
him and he is responsible for her evaluation etc. The relationship has
become ‘public’ as now his boss is aware that the two are living
together. She does not approve of the relationship and there is a policy in
place that discourages supervisor/employee relationships. The
situation has gotten very complicated as my boss has turned in his resignation,
stating that his boss is now harassing him, more or less punishing him
for his relationship with a subordinate. She has now taken away an
area of responsibility from the woman involved with my boss and given it
to me, stating the relationship is affecting this area. I do not want
this responsibility nor am I getting any additional compensation for
having more work. I basically now have another supervisor reporting to me
who requires alot of attention. Do I have any rights in this
I have addressed in the past, the issue of sexual harassment. I hope every employer and employee clearly understands that sexual harassment is intolerable, not to mention the fact that there are state and federal laws protecting the rights of the people who are being harassed.
Let me first preface this information by saying I am not an attorney and cannot provide legal advice. I can however, give you the tools needed to make an informed decision.
Believe it or not, this is not an uncommon situation in many businesses. I once worked for a high profile company where my supervisor (married), was having an affair with her boss (also married). Everyone knew they were having an affair because of the 2-hour closed-door meetings, frequent all-afternoon lunches, very blatant innuendos and quite frankly, extremely inappropriate actions in the presence of co-workers.
This situation made working conditions for my department unbearable most days because although my supervisor did not know the first thing about the job, not to mention the fact that she was clearly not management material, it didn´t matter because she was sleeping with the man in charge. Within less than a year, most people in our department had resigned. The situation was unfortunate because even still, years later, things have not improved.
Many times, employees fear retribution therefore, they report nothing — they do nothing. Instead, they tolerate inexcusable treatment from their superiors because perhaps they have no other options. In the situation I previously mentioned, our Human Resources system was corrupt so we truly had few options.
In an attempt to answer the question of our reader, I strongly recommend that you make a visit to your local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Please visit http://www.eeoc.gov and click on "Contact Your Local Field Office" which will give you the address of the nearest location in your area.
The EEOC will listen to your concerns, offer advice, and have you file a claim. They do take these matters very seriously. I certainly hope that your co-worker who resigned does the same. No one should have to endure this type of situation.
On a final note, I frequently visit http://www.nolo.com when I have legal questions. They are the nation´s leading provider of do-it-yourself legal solutions for consumers and small businesses.
Go to http://www.nolo.com/resource.cfm/catid/411dd971-9c17-47d8-880913b3ae9a2fff/104/150/ for further information on sexual harassment.
"Truth exists, only falsehood has to be invented." ~Georges Braque