Workplace affairs almost always get messy, especially when they involve a supervisor and a subordinate. But that doesn’t mean that the subordinate is destined to win the case every time. If she can’t show that the affair was unwelcome, she won’t win.
Recent case: Patti Lemmon worked as an accountant and restaurant manager for Richard Ayers, the married owner of an accounting office and Subway franchise. She almost immediately succumbed to Ayers’ charms and had an affair. Later, when she broke it off, she sued for sexual harassment and a long list of other claims.
But Lemmon couldn’t show that the affair was unwelcome, coerced or accompanied by threats related to her job. The court tossed out her lawsuit. (Lemmon v. Ayers, No. 3:09-CV-361, SD OH, 2012)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Clarify contract status by separating arbitration clause from job application
- Confidentiality conundrum: Can you reveal complaint in order to stop sexual harassment?
- Bulletproof anti-harassment policy by ensuring employees know how to lodge their complaints
- Future threat: 3rd-party pressure to curb bias