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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 18790
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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A client/friend of mine had an affair 7 years ago with an employee

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A client/friend of mine had an affair 7 years ago with an employee who works in his dept, but not directly for him. They recently had "relations" again this summer at her urging. Now she has admitted the affair to her husband, who emailed my friend's wife to tell her everything. They are trying to work things out. Now someone from Corporate HR, Employee Relations, has requested a meeting with him to discuss a matter that has come to their attention. Probably the husband said something there. The affair was not because he abused his position or took advantage of the employee, but more of a consenting affair. He has not done anything exceptional to help or hurt this employees career during her 10+ years there. This is a fortune 500 company. He is a VP, and she is now a manager in his department, but reports to a director in his group, not him. My question is, if he did not abuse his positon of authority, and did not use corporate email or phoens or anything, what can happen to him? Also, what stance should he take in this meeting? Defend himself? Deny it? Explain that she pushed the issue this summer? Any advice here?
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If he does not have a contract of employment specifically stating that he can only be terminated for cause, they can fire him at will. If he does have such a contract, they can still fire him for cause.

Because he is in a higher position and married, and she is married, the employer can simply decide that they don't like the situation and how it could have played out in the workplace.

He can certainly express to the employer the she urged the relationship, but that is really an argument of principal and not a legal argument. There is literally no legal argument available to him here, on these facts.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Should he consider denying it since there is no hard evidence to support the claim and would then be a he said she said situation?

Or should he maybe refuse to answer their questions without legal representation?


Denying it might help with his unemployment situation, slightly. He would then at least be able to try and argue that his termination was not for misconduct, so he could get those funds.

But legally, the employer doesn't need the report to even be accurate. He only gains little by not being forthright with the company.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

If they terminate him, he'll get a severance pkg, so unemployment means little to him. In past instances they've let directors and VPs go for such affairs, but there is also a few examples where they kept a VP who had well publicized affairs with people working for him. I am looking for the best strategy/defense for him. His main goal is to not get fired. The person he had the affair with is probably not driving this, as they have a good firendship, but her husband is most likely the one who brought it to their attention and driving this.

The problem here, I think, is that you're looking for a legal strategy to allow him to keep his job when there simply isn't one.

He has no legal leverage here at all.

the previous VP's that have been kept used some other business leverage to their advantage. They were either too valuable to the company or too prepared to directly compete against the company to allow the company to freely terminate. So again, I understand your question here but there is simply not any legal argument to his advantage on the facts you've given. His ability to keep his job will almost entirely hinge on whether or not the employer is interested in him keeping his job.
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