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Theoretical HR advice

(21 Posts)
Octopush13 Fri 19-Jun-15 13:54:31

Imagine you are a Director/Manager of a large organisation. A valued senior male staff member, someone you directly line-manage, comes to you asking for time off because he is stressed. His long term relationship is falling apart and he feels like his work is suffering. You are understanding and informally tell him to take as much time as he needs.

What would you do if you subsquently found out that the man's relationship had ended because he'd be having a long term (4-5 year) affair with a junior female staff member whom he had lined managed and who had recently been promoted with the support of the man? In addition the junior staff member had recently applied for other jobs away from the organisation and their relationship had been conducted almost entirely on work trips. The man also line manages a fairly large group of workers off site, hence the requirement for frequent trips. These workers have not been promoted.

Is there cause for concern here or it's it just the way of office romances?

I'm asking as the injured party (the partner of the man who was cheated on). I doubt I would contact my ex partners boss but I do wondered how his conduct would be viewed.

Heels99 Fri 19-Jun-15 14:16:58

I work in HR. I would be unimpressed by his behaviour and it would potentially impact informally on his future prospects. but unless his company has a non relationships policy, which very few do, no action would be taken. I have known all sorts of office affair situations over the years, one man had two children with a woman at work that his wife didn't know about.
Presumably he was not the only one involved in her promotion. I would ask his manager to have a word with him but beyond that probably very little but not much chance of promotion for him in imminent future.

I hope you are ok op, I would concentrate on myself if I was you,,this man sounds like one not to be involved with onGoing and you deserve better.

prepperpig Fri 19-Jun-15 14:21:01

Unless the affair has impacted on his work (or there is reason to believe that the female was unfairly promoted) it's probably none of their business and I would not be impressed at the person calling to "dob him in".

I'm an employment lawyer.

EnoughOfThis Fri 19-Jun-15 14:28:39

As it's a large organization it would be reassuring for it to be seen as extremely unprofessional. However this may not be the case.

ExH works for a much smaller scale business. I suspected him of seeing one of the office girls but never had concrete proof...pretty sure it did happen though as he is now in a relationship with another (ex)employee. He actually recruited the first one himself - nice hmm

I'm not sure if his boss is aware or not, but think they probably just turn a blind eye.

QuiteLikely5 Fri 19-Jun-15 14:31:26

Pig there are other reasons why this situation might be wrong in the eyes of an employer.

Op don't believe everything people say on here.

mairead10 Fri 19-Jun-15 14:39:09

Depends on the organisation, but a lot of companies now DO take a very dim view of any situation that involves senior executives, which could bring them into disrepute. I would imagine a senior executive, in some companies, having an affair with a junior colleague who he promoted would be viewed very poorly.

In the company I worked for, two senior executives were 'encouraged' to resign when their affair was exposed. He was married and she was single.

FabULouse Fri 19-Jun-15 14:41:50

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

pocketsaviour Fri 19-Jun-15 14:57:22

Honestly I think it totally depends on the make up of the company and the attitude of its leadership.

I have worked in plenty of companies where nobody would bat an eyelid at any of this, although he might get an informal warning if they thought he was claiming extra expenses.

I would say the larger the company, the less likely that anyone would raise an eyebrow.

HowDoesThatWork Fri 19-Jun-15 16:46:20

This OP seems quite familiar & recent too.

Is it a repeat?

Melonfool Fri 19-Jun-15 19:36:03

I've not read all the responses, but I am in HR.

The response of the organisation would depend on their policies. I don't think any law has been broken - though the 'promotions' could have involved discrimination against others (overlooked, not allowed to apply) but that would be for those people to raise.

My view is that people's personal lives are just that - personal. On the other hand though, I do wish they would keep it out of the workplace (OK, I am not entirely innocent of this myself).

I have also been in the HR dept when a 'wronged partner' has called to dob in the guy to us. We would not engage with this report at all and would 99% of the time not act on it.

It would need an internal complaint or something coming to light in the workplace for something to happen. It's all heresay really and aggrieved spouses are often not the most reliable reporters.

I'm really sorry this has happened to you. Please maintain your dignity though (even though he hasn't!) as you will respect yourself better later.

HermioneWeasley Fri 19-Jun-15 19:43:05

I would see him having an affair with one of his team and then promoting her as a massive and obvious conflict of interests. The company may have a policy on this

GnomeDePlume Fri 19-Jun-15 19:55:13

I was in a company where a married senior executive was having a long-time affair with a married junior colleague. Husband of junior colleague also worked for the company. The affair was common knowledge except to the cuckolded (now there's an old-fashioned term) husband.

Eventually the cat got out of the bag.

It was the senior executive who lost his job.

Octopush13 Fri 19-Jun-15 22:28:20

Thank you posters. I really appreciate your very serious and thoughtful advice. In fact the very calm responses have really helped me calm down too.

I have not posted this before, it is not a repeat, but I'm not surprised there's others out there. Let's face it, the whole shagging junior female collegue on work trips wife finds out via explicit texts on his phone, is so common it's a cliche.

I don't think I would have reported them anyway and don't intend to in the future as I think that's compromising my own dignity and I would rather not lower myself. But, it does become a bit of a dark fantasy on those long days (today) when I am trying to hold it all together, childcare, upset kids, work, sanity and ex is being difficult.

As it happens I have plenty of evidence including emails and txts from the OW to myself (and I took copies of the txts I'd seen between them while working away and sneaking around so the other team members didn't know). Interestingly the director of this facility (female) apparently does not like my ex (his words) but has also mentored and suppported the OW in her career. I'm sure she would be very dissappointed in them both but I think it would be unlikely to lead to serious reprimand, although I'm sure it would possibly harm both their careers.

In the end I think I just have to remember that often in these cases- everyone knows- and hope they get some kind of retribution one day. In the meantime I do find it hard that I now have the reputation among his family and work collegues as the one who split up the family. :-(

HermioneWeasley Sat 20-Jun-15 08:11:56

Why don't his family know he was having an affair? Do you have no communications with them?

ChipsOnChips Sat 20-Jun-15 08:31:54

I'm a senior exec (legal) in a MNC and we would consider the relationship a massive conflict of interest and would likely fire the director concerned.

Had there been any doubt as to whether this was best way forward the taking time off without disclosing the fact that there was a work colleague involved would have been nail in coffin.

We would also likely start an investigation to look at expenses and business need of work travel.

OP I am sorry you are going through this and I would suggest the best way to move forward would be to stop keeping your husbands dirty secret. Certainly let his family know he had an affair and don't let him mislead his work colleagues if it impacts on you.

Octopush13 Sat 20-Jun-15 14:00:06

His family know. But they won't believe that it is really as bad as all. Ex will not go into details with anyone (not me either), so his story to them is that is was a minor transgression. I contacted the OW and asked her to tell me frankly what had been going on, which she did (I have known her through my ex for about 9 years). I have told friends and family the whole story. many have been suportive and shocked. But many dont seem to believe it because we seemed so happy etc. He bullied me too. It took me ages to realise how bad it had become so I can see why it might be hard to believe. still...

Speaking to his mother recently (she is also recently bereaved and elderly so let's assume that her judgement at the moment is not great), she said I should have stuck it out for longer, she knows of couples who have gotten over affairs, I should consider an open relationship and "what is good for the goose is good for the gander". I have NO idea what that's suppose to mean, but basically she'd like us to live together for the kids.

I do lose my perspective on the whole thing when I have people going on at me like that, on top of being lonely and up and down (and nearly 40..pathetic but it's really worrying me!). I'd been with him since I have 22, the whole dating thing is so scary. Plus...when?? Any spare time I have goes straight into trying to stay on top of my job...

BrowersBlues Sat 20-Jun-15 14:28:02

Try your best to ignore his mother, just put her comments out of your head because they are total bullshit. Your EXH is a bastard who has lied to you and has the gall to bully you when he is the one who wrecked your marriage and upset his own children . I get it that marriages break down, mine did, but his behaviour is abysmal.

You haven't done anything wrong. I would contact his HR department and ask if they have a policy on relationships amongst staff. I work for a very large organisation and this is not an uncommon question. If they do have a policy, ask for a copy of the policy. You never know when it might come in handy.

I am not one bit surprised that you have lost your perspective on things you have been through a dreadful shock. It is scary and lonely at the beginning and you just have to accept that, there would be something wrong with you if you didn't feel those emotions. If you need to see your doctor or a counsellor do so. Focus on yourself and getting yourself better.

Be 100% honest with your children, you don't need to slag him off, just tell the DC what happened. Don't worry about being 40 and single. You have your whole life ahead of you and allow yourself to be a little bit excited about that prospect. You don't know what is ahead but is can be so great. You will meet someone when you are ready, don't rush it now, just be kind to yourself.

Your EXH and his bit on the side might think that everything is rosy, just wait until reality sinks in. See a solicitor as soon as possible and sue him for divorce on the grounds of infidelity. Get advice from your solicitor on how to protect yourself financially. Other MNs will have advice in this regard.

The reality of what is ahead for him will soon cool his ardour. She is really going to love it when the excitement of their secret trysts is over and all she is left with is a bullying liar. She will never be able to trust him, she has seen what a brilliant liar he has been for the last four years. Good luck to them you are well rid!

Stay on top of your job, you are doing brilliantly!!!!

Octopush13 Sat 20-Jun-15 16:16:07

Thanks Browersblue and others,

Sensible kind comments like that go along way. I found out 1 March and in that time have got him out of the flat, financially separated, I have bought him out, (we were not married-he refused to, which I should have taken more seriously!). The domestic arrangements are getting there too. My brain in exhasted and frozen though. Looking forward to some summertime with my kids, reading and swimming with them. As for OW, she's the same age as me, 39. He broke up with her 'because she wanted children', so much for it being a minor indiscretion. I imagine she is regretting spending 50% of her 30's waiting for him to split up with me so they could start a family...

OK enough wallowing for me now, I must just get on with things.

BrowersBlues Sat 20-Jun-15 16:29:03

Well done on having the strength to get things sorted out so speedily. You are far more capable than you think. You have to allow yourself to wallow a bit every now and then, you are only human.

You are a young woman and you sound lovely. Your children are lucky to have such a good mother and they won't ever forget it.

The OW didn't act admirably herself so she can only look at the role she played in her own downfall. From what I read on MN it is pretty common for the affair to end when the affair is exposed.

Chin up, you are doing a great job!

Octopush13 Sat 20-Jun-15 17:39:22

Thanks Browersblues! Comments like your really make a hige difference on days like today. Thanks...really.

HermioneWeasley Sat 20-Jun-15 19:22:27

Agree, you sound very sorted. He sounds like a complete loser and his mother's comments are best ignored.

You're not 40 yet, you have kids and you're financially sound - sounds good to me!

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