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Can HR offer any support regarding affair

(35 Posts)
missblossomhill Thu 28-Mar-13 09:44:30

Hi
Hope someone can help me or offer advice
My STBXH had an affair with a woman in his work. It started when I was pregnant and I discovered it when my baby was six weeks old, I confronted him and he left me. They are still together
This was all six months ago and my maternity leave is about to end. But myself my husband and this woman all work in the same company !
I am absolutely dreading returning to work and seeing her or them both together
People have advised me to speak to HR but I'm not sure what they could do either practically or support wise

Does anyone have any ideas on how to handle this

I just don't know what to do

scaevola Thu 28-Mar-13 09:49:05

HR are there to ensure good standards of personnel management, not to regulate staff morals in general.

So they need to be aware of the affair if it impinges on a line-management structure (one affair partner should not appraise the other, nor should ex, etc).

And a good HR team should also facilitate the reporting of an individual to another branch of area of work so they see less of those they find difficult. Is that something that might help you?

SquidgyMummy Thu 28-Mar-13 09:50:20

To be honest, I would never trust HR. IME they hate "troublemakers" (as they will see you, especially if you are deemed as less important to the company) and they would probably find a way of getting rid of you.

Does anyone at the company know about the affair; is STBX offficially out with the OW?

If possible, i would just start to look for another job

flowery Thu 28-Mar-13 09:52:30

"they would probably find a way of getting rid of you."

What a ridiculous comment. Apart from anything else, they are far more likely to see the bloke who had an affair as a troublemaker than the OP.

OP what are you hoping HR might be able to do? That's a genuine question, then I can tell you whether it's possible. Do you want to be redeployed to a different department or something?

Does your line manager know?

DontmindifIdo Thu 28-Mar-13 09:57:39

Actually, this depends on all your relivant levels of seniority and reporting. Also if there's anything in your contracts about not having office based relationships.

I would talk to HR and tell them you don't want to end up in a situation where you are expected to report into either of them - and HR need to know about this.

I'd also talk to whoever would be your manager, you don't want OW whispering to them about you with them being unaware to take it with a great big pinch of salt.

And from a personal level, I wouldn't cover for them with colleagues, I'd tell people you are getting divorced from H because of his affair with OW. Let other people judge them - your H has really pissed on his own doorstep, he might have got away with sympathy if you worked elsewhere and were faceless, but people there will know you, it's embarrassing for the company, and it will already have damaged his career prospects within the company. Long term he's going to have to go elsewhere.

flowery Thu 28-Mar-13 10:04:52

Are you looking for another job OP? Of course you shouldn't be the one to have to leave but it sounds like a horrendous situation regardless of any support anyone can give you, and for the sake of your sanity you may need to remove yourself from it.

missblossomhill Thu 28-Mar-13 10:34:13

I have been there a long time so I wouldn't want to go elsewhere as I would lose out on benefits and salary
The work have also accomodated my request to work part time so I can look after the children
I really don't know what I can expect from hr it's just people keep telling me to make them aware of the situation
He told me on no uncertain terms yesterday that if I even attempt to look at her the wrong way then she will complain to HR and will get me sacked
He says if I don't want to lose my job then when I go back to work I've to keep my head down and keep quiet

eatmydust Thu 28-Mar-13 10:37:22

Depends on the size and structure of the company - but yes you need to speak to someone as soon as possible. Where I work HR just offer advice to managers and don't actually do anything - so maybe it's your line manager you need to talk to first.

I actually had to deal with a situation like this as a manager. Basically the other women (and most of the men) in the team refused to work with the OW. We eventually moved her to another location and completely unconnected part of the business and the exH resigned. Unfortunately legally there isn't much that the company can do, unless there has been any misconduct (meeting during working hours, falsifying expenses etc) but you will find the company to be very supportive.

Also, as hurtful as this is I wouldn't cover up for them either. It is a horrendous situation, would hope your STBExH and OW have a bit of decency and sod off themselves first.

MistyB Thu 28-Mar-13 10:39:14

You latest comment is bullying on his part. Do you work in the same area of the business? Is your manager aware of the situation? I think, I would talk to my manager and make HR aware of his bullying threat. I'd be interested to hear what other people think in light of his comments.

SanctuaryMoon Thu 28-Mar-13 10:40:35

What an awful situation OP. Be aware of your company grievance policies etc

MrsSpagBol Thu 28-Mar-13 10:42:11

In light of his comments I would definitely tell HR.

nenevomito Thu 28-Mar-13 10:43:35

I would make an appointment with HR and explain that your H has left you and your young child for someone else in the company. Explain that you will always behave professionally, but as your Ex has threatened to cause trouble for you, they need to be aware of this and that anything about you from him, or the OW should be viewed in light of that information.

No, they can't enforce morals, but they can do something about bullying or someone causing trouble in the work place. In my experience, they wouldn't consider you to be the trouble maker.

Whocansay Thu 28-Mar-13 10:44:57

Make an appointment with HR and make them aware of the situation as it stands. Be clear that you would not usually want to bring personal problems to work, but they should be aware of the above threat. Ask that if possible, you have no or very limited contact at work with either of them. And NEVER be alone with either of them. Make sure you always have a witness.

What a horrible situation. I hope you and your baby are otherwise OK?

arthriticfingers Thu 28-Mar-13 10:46:06

Do you have these threats - or anything work related as a phone text or email?

SoupDreggon Thu 28-Mar-13 10:46:11

He told me on no uncertain terms yesterday that if I even attempt to look at her the wrong way then she will complain to HR and will get me sacked

I certainly would be telling HR about his threat so that it is on record should anything happen.

eatmydust Thu 28-Mar-13 10:52:29

x posted with you earlier.

What he has said to you is bullying and you do need to report it to your company. That is probably enough leverage for them to move him.

Try and just communicate with him about this in writing/email/text so you have a record.

Are they is senior positions to you?

flowery Thu 28-Mar-13 10:57:53

Ok, definitely tell HR then. And don't worry, no one is going to sack you for looking at someone funny.

He sounds very unpleasant, and as if you are well shot tbh.

Speak to HR, just explain what has happened, and say you wanted them to be aware. They may or may not be able to actually do anything, but getting it on the record that there is a personal relationships 'issue' for want of a better word, is sensible.

Queenofknickers Thu 28-Mar-13 11:00:39

Eek Squidgy, I know there are some less compassionate HRdepts out there ( honestly i know there are some horrors) but as a Head of HR myself having run lots of depts over 15 years I can reassure you that most HR people will be only too glad to listen to, help and reassure especially someone coming back from maternity leave - plus there are very few people related things such as affairs that an experienced HR person hasn't encountered. On behalf of myself and my colleagues we don't see people as troublemakers unless they make repeated unfounded or vexatious claims - dealing with disputes of all kinds is our bread and butter.

Phew that said I would absolutely suggest you request a confidential meeting with someone in HR (preferably at HR Manager level so they've got some experience) and ask for some support and help. No one is allowed to threaten you - your employers have a duty of care towards YOU. X Wish i could come with you! x

Verbalpunchbag Thu 28-Mar-13 14:07:41

Yes speak to HR, anything you tell them should be held in the strictest confidence, it would be worth mentioning what your husband said about getting you sacked. Don't discuss his cheating/separation/divorce etc with your colleagues, try to stay professional and above all walk into work with your head held high.

DontmindifIdo Thu 28-Mar-13 14:23:43

Definately tell HR after he's made that threat - they need to know any complaints from him are coming from a position of being in a relationship with this woman having cheated on you.

do they know at work that he's in a relationship with her or are they still keeping it quiet? If so, they need to know about it, and I would say so do your colleagues.

Your STBXH is probably hoping you'll quit or go elsewhere so he doesn't have to deal with the situation he created. It's a lot easier ot convince yourself you aren't doing anything wrong if you don't have to deal with seeing other people looking at you like you are scum. If his colleagues don't know now, I bet when they do they'll start looking down on him and her. (And particularly her, she knows you, rightly or wrongly, we do tend to reserve the most disapproval for an OW who shags the husband of someone she knows).

onefewernow Thu 28-Mar-13 16:30:41

Queenofknickers us quite right. I also have some experience in thus field, and would have happily supported you to feel comfortable at work.

BertramBertram Thu 28-Mar-13 16:38:57

HR are not just there for hiring & firing! A good HR person will want to know about this so that they can make sure YOU are OK. Whilst HR won't get involved in the morality issues, they will make sure that you are not driven out by ex & OW. You may find that HR are able to offer some practical support in terms of referring for counselling, flexible working etc. You must make them aware of his comments

Bluesue26 Thu 28-Mar-13 16:50:43

Hmmmm, I know somebody who worked for her DH. The DH had an affair, (not with somebody within that company but was a client), and the wife resigned. She then sued the company for constructive dismissal and got a considerable pay out. She claimed she had to leave as it was an unbearable environment to work in.

ohtobecleo Thu 28-Mar-13 19:47:07

What an awful situation. I'm with those who've said that you should discuss the thinly veiled threat with HR without mentioning the affair so that you maintain dignity and proffessionality. And so that it's on record in the event of any dispute.

missblossomhill Thu 28-Mar-13 21:03:03

Thanks everyone
After reading your replies I felt strong enough to phone and explain everything including the threats and how i was feeling to my managers
They are appalled and are going to organise a meeting with HR next week
I feel so much better about this so thank you everyone again

AuntieVenom Thu 28-Mar-13 21:17:42

Well done!!

I hope the meeting goes well and the two moral-less individuals get the comeuppance of their lives.

ATouchOfStuffing Thu 28-Mar-13 21:22:13

Glad you have spoken to them OP. I had a friend at work who cheated with my then fiance. I spoke to HR and they offered to move me to a different department, which was good but tbh I felt I didn't want to see her at all and have people talking. I hope it works out well for you. Worth thinking if you have any preferences of new roles/vacancies in the firm that would be better placed for you away from either of them?

SquidgyMummy Fri 29-Mar-13 13:38:38

Sorry to be harsh about HR departments. I used to work in Investment banking in the late 90's and other colleagues as well as myself have been on the receiving end of their attitude that staff were just there to make money, and if not dispensable.

OP, your STBXH sounds like a nasty piece of work, but if he is more senior to you or makes more money for the company, then watch your back.

The most political solution for this would be to try and get her promoted out of the situation, as unpalatable as this may seem. Happens so much in organisations, as my DP says "sh1t floats to the top".

That way your STBXH and OW cannot complain, OW is out of your hair and you get to protect the job situation you have worked hard for.

I know I sound paranoid, but I have seen people getting screwed over far too much for complaining telling the truth and i just want you to be very careful in your meeting. Is there someone you can take along with you to the meeting? Friend, trusted colleague?

flowery Fri 29-Mar-13 15:13:18

"I used to work in Investment banking in the late 90's and other colleagues as well as myself have been on the receiving end of their attitude that staff were just there to make money, and if not dispensable."

Seriously? You think HR were in charge of which staff were dispensable? Nope. That would be managers/directors. HR would have been asked to deal with getting rid of people not deciding who to get rid of!

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 29-Mar-13 15:42:10

flowery... what squidgy says is more common than you might think. HR can be very pragmatic indeed, particularly at the direction of their paymasters, just like anybody else. I've worked in private, public and civil sectors and have seen it. In my experience, public sector is the worst - employees who should be sacked for very clear reasons, are not. In my current role in the private sector, I have had cause to complain about a public sector client who will be 'untouchable' because of his position, HR or no HR. In agreement with my company's legal team, we're putting that one away for a 'rainy day'.

So please don't arbitrarily say "it doesn't happen"; it clearly does.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 29-Mar-13 16:04:51

Good result, OP... that must be a load off your mind. Hope the meeting goes well.

nenevomito Fri 29-Mar-13 16:21:21

I'm glad that your managers were sympathetic and will support you with HR. that's a big positive for you.

flowery Fri 29-Mar-13 18:16:59

"HR can be very pragmatic indeed, particularly at the direction of their paymasters, just like anybody else."

Er yes that's exactly my point. It's not HR who decide someone is a troublemaker and must be got rid of. It's management.

MsWinnieBaygo Sat 30-Mar-13 01:24:35

Not the point of the thread but I agree with flowery - management make the decisions - HR are there to ensure consistency and that the correct procedures and statutory legislation is followed in accordance with the management decisions

Loulybelle Wed 24-Apr-13 19:01:55

Any success OP?

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