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Workplace romance, by itself, is not illegal

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

While workplace romances can cause all kinds of problems, it isn’t necessarily illegal discrimination if a supervisor favors his girlfriend. That’s true even if others feel they are being passed over or otherwise treated poorly because of the affair.

Recent case: Thomas complained to management that his supervisor was having an affair with a female subordinate and treating her to workplace favors. Shortly after, he was discharged. He sued, alleging that he had been fired because he reported the affair to management.

The court threw out the case. It reasoned that because the affair wasn’t itself a violation of any em­­ployment law, the employer couldn’t have retaliated against Thomas for reporting potential sex discrimination problem. (Fattoruso v. Hilton Grand Vacations, No. 12-2405, 2nd Cir., 2013)

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