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Patrick, Esq.
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Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I had sex with my supervisor at work. My boyfriend who works

Customer Question

I had sex with my supervisor at work. My boyfriend who works there too found my emails between my supervisor and me so he printed the emails and brought them to HR. So the supervisor was demoted and given a high paying job on a different shift in maintenance. Then they put me on another shifts so they could keep any eye on me. Then a month later they wanted me to change departments and go on to another shift because the area I was working didn't have much work. It felt like they were pushing me out because of the way I was treated after I changed shifts. I was given the weekend to find a babysitter and transportation because I only have a permit. So I called HR and told her I couldn't make any shift work because I have no babysitter so I told them I'm going to have to quit. But shortly after I left they were pulling people from another department to do my old job. Also I worked there for 6yrs and they choose to get rid of me over a new inexperienced worker. So when I applied for unemployment I got a notice saying I was discharged because I engaged in a sexual relationship with the supervisor during work hours.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Hello and welcome. I am very sorry to hear about this situation. What is your legal question precisely? I look forward to helping you.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I was wondering specifically if I have a case of discrimination because my former employer claimed they discharged me when I applied for unemployment but they didn't discharge my former supervisor
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Thank you.

In general, the law does not require employers to treat all employees equally. However, the law does prohibit employers from treating employees differently if the reason for such disparity in treatment is a legally protected trait. Gender is a legally protected trait, so if you could prove that the reason you were fired and your manager was not is because you are female, then you may have a claim for discrimination. The thing is, this is not automatically proven simply by the fact that you were "terminated" and your manager was not. There could be other reasons which explain why you were treated differently. For instance, your manager might not be as easily replaceable, you might have been perceived to be the initiator of the sexual encounter and thus more culpable, or you might have had prior issues with your performance whereas the manager did not. Basically, in a gender discrimination case, you would bear the burden of proving that you would not have been fired if you were not a woman, and that all of these other potential explanations for why you were terminated were not factors. This can be a hard burden to satisfy, but it is certainly not impossible.

Given all the above, it may be prudent to file a complaint with The New York State Division of Human Rights. They will investigate and if they find that your discrimination claim has merit, either file a lawsuit on your behalf or, more commonly, issue you a right to sue letter authorizing you to file your own lawsuit in civil court. Filing a complaint with the Division of Human Rights is free and does not require you to have an attorney (though you certainly can), so there really isn't much to lose.

I hope that this addresses your concerns. If I can clarify anything at all, just let me know. If I have answered your question, I would very much appreciate a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Very best regards,


Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I was wondering if it is legal that they told unemployment they discharge me for sexual relations with a supervisor during work hours when I actually called quit. They never fired me but they are trying to say I am.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Technically, it is illegal to make factually untrue statements in connection with an unemployment claim. However, the penalty for this is criminal prosecution for perjury. No civil claim for damages can arise. Also, the alternative to saying that you quit--saying that you resigned--is actually worse for you, since resigning will result in the denial of unemployment benefits since you are said to be "unemployed through fault of your own" when you resign. So, this is not an issue that you really want to pursue because it can only hurt your chances of getting approved for benefits if there is any question as to whether you resigned or were fired.

I hope this clarifies things.

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