How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask RobertJDFL Your Own Question
RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12132
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
18284290
Type Your Legal Question Here...
RobertJDFL is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

We have a situation at work where lesbian was trying to have

Customer Question

We have a situation at work where lesbian was trying to have an affair with another married woman at work with 3 kids. Husband of that woman contacted us and notified is that there is something going on between the 2.
Lesbian girls also texted another woman's husband and apologized for trying to have an affair.
Husband sent the message to us Employers.
Please avvise what should we do ?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 4 months ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. I look forward to assisting you.

I am presuming (and please correct me if I am wrong) that the married employee rejected the sexual advance? Depending on how many times she was asked and how the other lesbian employee approached the matter, it could be considered an unwanted sexual advance/sexual harassment. It's not unlawful for one co-worker to ask another for a date, but a good policy to have for employees , if you don't already is "one strike and you're out" --that is, if they ask out a co-worker and they say no, they should immediately drop the matter. If they did that, I would say it's not harassment. If she pursued the married woman, repeatedly asked her out, made sexual comments to her, crass remarks, etc. --that could be harassment. It does sound like the lesbian employee is pretty embarrassed and apologetic for asking out a married, straight co-worker.

As I'm sure you already know, New York is an at will employment state, so unless your employees are union or have employment agreements, they are subject to termination at any time with or without cause, so long as you don't terminate them for an unlawful reason. You can't terminate an employee for being gay. But if she repeatedly sexually harassed the other employee, that certainly would be grounds for termination. Similarly, if you had a policy in place that said employees cannot repeatedly ask co-workers out on dates and she did anyway, that would be grounds for termination for violating company rules.

If the employee asked once and then backed off, I would suggest there's nothing that necessarily needs to be done. If you don't have a dating/fraternization policy, consider instituting one for the future. If the employees seem uncomfortable working around one another and one requests a transfer to another department, and that can be done, that may be an option.

Did you need clarification or additional information about my answer? If so, please reply, I'm happy to assist further. Otherwise, please remember to leave a positive rating for me by clicking on the stars,as experts are not employees of this site and we are only paid if you leave a positive rating. Thank you!

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I just sent you an email
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 4 months ago.

You couldn't have sent me an email -experts don't list personal emails on this site'. Perhaps it was sent to customer service (*****@******.***)? If you need follow up information, please reply to me here so I can see it and respond, thank you.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
We feel that married woman did not reject. Possibly they had an affair . We found out from the husband who is very concerned . Her husband sent us a text that he received from lesbian girl.
Husband is suggesting to us that 2 can not work together . He is requesting us to fire either one or another
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Please let me know if you got an image with the text that lesbian woman sent to married girls husband
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 4 months ago.

Yes, I got the image. So I would agree, the married employee didn't reject it seems, if the other employee is calling her "her girlfriend."

That said, unless you have a policy against company dating, it's not unlawful for employees to date, or even for employees to date a married person.

He may have grounds in a divorce action, and potentially even legal grounds for something like loss of consortium against the lesbian employee, but he can't force you to fire anyone, and you owe him no legal duty. He can't sue your company because you didn't tell the employees to date and it wasn't done within the course and scope of their employment at your direction.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
i decide to fire either one of them, can they sue me?
Also what kind of documents should I have in place and make them sign to protect my company?
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 4 months ago.

My apologies for the slight delay, I stepped out for a short bit.

I would NOT suggest terminating either one. Under Federal & New York State laws, discrimination occurs when you are treated differently in a way that causes an adverse impact to you, based on your: race, gender, age, disability, religion, national origin, political, affiliation or belief, genetics, arrest and conviction record, marital status, genetic, predisposition and carrier status, veteran status, sexual orientation, or retaliation. Terminating them or one of them could be seen as retaliatory and there's nothing an employee can sign in such a situation to waive your potential liability.

Sometimes, when an employee is laid off they will sign a separation agreement that includes an agreement not to bring any cause of action against the employer. However, such agreements, like all contracts, require "consideration" -or that something of value be given. That is why in a separation agreement an employee is given separation pay or something similar. You wouldn't have that in a termination.

If you can assign them to different departments or something like that without demoting either one or reducing salary/benefits, you could do that. But again, the husband cannot force you to do anything here --he has no claim or cause of action against the business.