How do I speak up about boss’s affair?

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in Your Office Coach

Question:  “Our new manager is having an affair with a young woman in our office. The two of them often disappear for hours at a time.  Since this relationship began, our co-worker has become arrogant and rude. She used to be polite and helpful. Everyone is upset about the change in our office atmosphere, but no one will speak up. I seem to be the only person willing to address the issue, but I don’t know how to do it diplomatically. Where do I go and what do I say?”  —A.P.

Answer:  Boss-employee romances always create problems. Talking directly with the participants is pointless, since people in the throes of lust are seldom rational. And when one of them is your boss, there's a risk of retribution.  

A better option is to find someone in upper management or human resources who can sit this new manager down for a frank talk about inappropriate workplace relationships. When you meet with that person, keep the tone calm and businesslike.  

For example: "Our group used to be very effective, but lately things have changed. There’s a rumor that Bob and Mary are having a relationship outside of work. We don't know if that's true, but the two of them are often gone for hours, and Mary has become difficult to work with. We're afraid to discuss this with Bob, so we hope that you can help.”

Although your cautious colleagues may try to make you the sole spokesperson, they should also attend this meeting. When several people deliver the same message, management is much more likely to pay attention. 

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy December 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Oh, yeah and ITS A LAW OFFICE!

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Kathy December 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm

SOrry that was supposed to be rabbi not rabbit. Upset I guess.

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Kathy December 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm

In my situation, it is the officer manager who is having the obvious affair with the co-managing partner. SHe has become increasingly rude to the staff and schmoozes publicly with the other partners. She comes back from lunch daily smelling like booze and her work hours have been cut in half, not coming in on Weds any more. She claims to be working at home part of the time. Her kids are all grown and two are in college. The partner has out of the office meetings every Wednesday. He’s called her “honey” several times in front of the other staff and then coughed and said we must have mis heard him. Other people in our building laugh and say they see them going at it in the car in various places in the city, publicly. The piece de resistance is that they were carrying on like this while his wife was terminally ill with cancer and even before. SHe came to the wife’s funeral while the rabbit talked about what a good husband he was to his wife, GAG! Who do you complain to when the HR person is porking the boss? I know we should look for jobs if we don’t like it…..Terrible.

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