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Have a Legal Question?
Being involved in a sexual relationship with a supervisor or other individual in a position of power at your place of employment is fraught with danger from the start. The chance of problems developing at work from fellow employees increases in such instances, but things can really become magnified if the relationship in question ends.
Filing a Sexual Harassment Claim
If the employee is fired by their boss, there are some instances which can justify litigation for sexual harassment, which in legal terms is called a tangible employment action. That means a person was fired, denied a promotion or had their work status significantly affected due to the end of the relationship.
For example, if nothing in the employee’s previous work record suggests that there were any problems with their effort, an abrupt dismissal is likely to raise a red flag as to the validity of the action.
Filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) can be the first step in this process, since it documents in your words the history of the relationship. However, if you believe you should be financially compensated for this dismissal, legal action will likely be necessary.
Finding Legitimate Proof
If a copy exists of the most recent performance review that shows in writing that the employee’s work was sufficient, that will help show the action taken was personal and not from a professional standpoint.
The problem with proving that the dismissal was directly related to the end of the relationship is that there can often be little direct evidence to prove that point.
However, there are instances in which the employee will be hard-pressed to win a case. One is when a company’s employee handbook explicitly states that such relationships are forbidden. A company specifically includes such rules in order to protect themselves against these cases.
While there may be a case if the start of the relationship was a prerequisite of being hired, it may be difficult to prove. That’s because either a judge or jury may believe that such a relationship was consensual.
In short, while there can be a basis for a lawsuit related to the end of a workplace relationship with a boss, having enough proof to show that the subsequent firing was connected to it is the key to winning a case. Contact an attorney today by calling 312.332.6733 or contacting us online today.